In response to:
The Untold Story of McCarthy's Fall from the October 28, 1965 issue
To the Editors:
The Richard Rovere review of former Senator Potter’s book on old Joe McCarthy (NYR, October 11) was a serious bit of business. Could have been a humorous piece, but Rovere is mad. Mad because someone else wrote an Indian Joe obituary?
What would happen if other fellows (like myself for instance) who wrote speeches for fifty or sixty big politicians, decided to take ourselves as seriously as Thomas “untold story” McIntyre? We’re a dime a dozen. The only advantage is that it gets us a bit of money in the early days to help us get along with our own work. Is this not so?
I’ll not go into the Potter book. I am grateful to the former Senator for another McCarthy obit. May they keep a’coming.
But Thomas McIntyre! I am surprised at Dick Rovere. Did he check with Trainor? Detroit Times City Editor for over thirty years and McIntyre’s boss? Or with Ray Girardin, another thirty year man, THE STAR reporter, Detroit Times, a fellow whose integrity has never been questioned, not even by any of the opposition?
What prompts this note, as my readers may have guessed, is the snide McIntyre-Rovere remark on Mayor Cavanagh. The Rovere article sounds like this: “While doing this piece…I thought I would have old McIntyre knock off Mayor Cavanagh.” Cavanagh does not even deserve to go into the text. Just smash him in a little old footnote! What an unmitigated bit of crap! And with nothing or no one to support McIntyre’s personal peeve!
The Mayor of Detroit is by statute, the most powerful municipal officer in the United States. At this moment Jerry Cavanagh is the greatest New Deal Mayor in the United States. Was it fair to let a personal peeve against Cavanagh stand without at least asking the opinion of Walter Reuther? or the NAACP? Or at least five of the leading reporters of the city? Or, what is most important of all—did Rovere at least check with Shriver and other Anti-Poverty officials? Cavanagh is a great big story—a great big heart-warming story.
The Carolina Israelite
Charlotte, North Carolina
Richard Rovere replies:
It is good to have Mr. McIntyre set the record straight. I had no thought of calling into question his cultivation or his maturity.
Nor had I any thought of passing judgment on Mayor Cavanagh; I was merely reporting what I discovered to be Mr. McIntyre’s current preoccupation. I can’t imagine why Sargent Shriver should be consulted on this matter. And if Mr. Golden attaches some importance to the number of McCarthy obituaries, I will give him yet another. Shortly after McCarthy’s death which was three years after the Army-McCarthy hearings and the Senate censure, Senator Charles E. Potter, the author of Days of Shame, took the Senate floor and said: “Even the severest critic of Senator McCarthy would say that he—more than any other person in this country—did one very valuable thing: he awakened the American people to the dangers of Communism…. As a result of that awakening on the part of the American people, today the country is much more aware of the sinister aspirations of international Communism. Mr. President, Joseph McCarthy is missed from the United States Senate.”
December 9, 1965