Hoover and Cohn, both virulent anti-communists, also shared a methodology of amassing secret dossiers on their perceived enemies for the purpose of blackmail. McCarthy wanted to know if it was hype or if Cohn really was as ruthless as everybody said he was. Whether Cohn was a sincere red-baiter or whether he just wanted to separate himself from the anti-Semitic trope of the day that Communists were largely Jews, is unknown, but Cohn held firm to his anti-Communism to the end of his life.
Cohn and McCarthy were so united in their obsessions and approach that it is hard to say who was the teacher and who was the student. The idea of The Big Lie is that while people might have the capacity to reject a small lie, they are incapable of imagining that anyone would have the audacity to invent a colossal one. Consequently, The Big Lie is more readably credible than a small one. If a Big Lie is repeated enough, it becomes truer than the truth.
The idea was not to root out facts.
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It was independent of truth and depended on the use of an inquisition to destroy lives and establish that Cohn and McCarthy were not figures to be trifled with. David Schine. It was really important for me to parse Army-McCarthy in the film, and to show Cohn at the center of it. Throughout the 60s and 70s, he became arguably the most powerful political fixer and behind-the-scenes player in New York life.
During this time, he was indicted and acquitted three times for white-collar crimes. In New York, and one sees this to this day, people sidle up to questionable people, and the system promotes those who play the game. This explains how someone like this thrived for so many decades in plain sight. While his primary claims to fame rested in being vicious to all who opposed him, Cohn cultivated friendships with people like George Steinbrenner, Andy Warhol, Cardinal Spellman, William F.
Cohn played a major behind-the-scenes role in many historic events, including the Rosenberg case, the McCarthy hearings, helping Ronald Reagan become President, clearing a legal path for Rupert Murdoch to form Fox News, and the promotion of the son of a Queens real estate developer in New York named Donald Trump. Everything was for personal gain. The general welfare was never considered.
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Once Tyrnauer decided to make the film, he immersed himself in research. While he had research producers and archivists to help him, Tyrnauer tried to look at as much of the material as possible. As the research proceeded, Tyrnauer figured out what topics he wanted to cover, and assembled a wish list of people he wanted to interview.
You want scholars who can add perspective.
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After he did his interview, he read up and asked to be interviewed again so he could specifically denounce Roy. That was fascinating. With his ruthless tactics, flamboyant personality, and cartoon gangster suits, Roger Stone is another well-known political operator who studied the Cohn playbook. Tracking him down in California, the director began the long process of trying to get him to participate in the film.
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