My post about Jack Anderson prompted my conservative cousin from New York to recall Anderson’s mentor and partner, Drew Pearson. My cousin writes:
Do you recall Jack Anderson’s mentor the equally scurrilous Drew Pearson and his Washington Merry Go Round column and radio show? A Pacifist-minded Quaker, he evidently channeled his aggression into vicious, unsubstantiated attacks on public officials. Pearson was a vigorous opponent of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Pearson and Anderson teamed up with a man named David Karr to savage the Truman Administration’s stand against Soviet aggression.. Karr had been a reporter for the Communist Daily Worker where he covered Yankee games for the paper.
The suicide of Truman’s Defense Secretary James Forerstal was blamed on the vicious attacks on his character made in The Washington Merry Go Round.( I’d treat those charges with a grain of skepticism as Forestal was plagued by inner demons).
Joe McCarthy labeled Karr as “Pearson’s KGB handler”. Pearson defended his associate and said he only worked for the paper so he could get free passes to Yankee games. Recent research into the files of the KGB revealed that Karr was indeed, as McCarthy charged, a Soviet agent.
Pearson once encountered McCarthy at a Press Club function. McCarthy became so incensed that he started to throw punches at Pearson. Only the intervention of fellow Quaker Richard Nixon saved Pearson from serious injury. Nixon certainly had reason later in his career to have strongly regretted his intervention on Pearson’s behalf.
During the last years of my working life I was obliged to deal with the press. One of the many great and small joys of retirement is that I never have to talk with a journalist again.
SCOTT adds: Speaking of William Buckley, as we have been, it gives me great pleasure to recall another of Buckley’s inspirations: his founding of The National Committee to Horsewhip Drew Pearson. Shortly after its founding, Buckley announced that “everybody in the world desires to become associated with [it], with the result that the Board of Directors has decided to limit charter membership to 10 percent of the population of the United States.”
Priscilla Buckley recalls that the committee’s buttons “were particularly popular with our readers and we sold hundreds of them before [Pearson’s] death forced a cancellation of the campaign.” NR announced the termination of the campaign in an obituary which read: “The National Committee to Horsewhip Drew Pearson is dissolved, its subject having become the responsibility of a higher authority.”