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This book offers an alternative explanation for why Jay Carney might hang Soviet propaganda in his home

Image from Washingtonian MOM. Propaganda called out in boxes.

Over the weekend, TheBlaze noted that in a glowing profile on White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's wife Claire Shipman in Washingtonian MOM magazine, what garnered the most attention was the Soviet-era propaganda hanging in Carney and Shipman's home.

Image from Washingtonian MOM. Propaganda called out in boxes. The controversial picture from Washingtonian MOM's profile of Jay Carney's wife, Claire Shipman. Propaganda called out by TheBlaze in red boxes. (Image Source: Washingtonian MOM)

As TheBlaze noted, one potential explanation for why the family would hang Soviet-era propaganda in their home is that Jay Carney worked out of Time's Moscow bureau for several years. Moreover, Carney and Shipman first met in Moscow in the 1990s.

However, Diana West, a Blaze contributor and author of "American Betrayal," has a different hypothesis.

Writing on her website this past weekend, West argued that the propaganda hanging in the Carney household reflects a broader Leftist mindset that is at best apathetic towards the tyranny of Communism. West stated:

"it is certainly the case that Western elites' zest for Communist iconography is discussed in American Betrayal as a manifestation of the callous indifference to genocidal Communist crime that marks our society, a subject deeply analyzed and weighed throughout the book."

In fact, the basis of her controversial book, as discussed on the Glenn Beck program, is that American indifference, willful ignorance and out and out complicity with those who wish to destroy her, as manifested in the West's dealings with Islamic supremacists today, has a shocking historical tradition. West believes that this destructive pattern of Western behavior dates back to America's dealings with Communists in general, and the Soviet Union in particular, prior to and during the Cold War.

West provides an excerpt from her book that addresses this central premise. The excerpt follows a passage about the "wrath of the Truman administration toward Whittaker Chambers for revealing the truth about Alger Hiss":

[instory-book ISBN="9780312630782"]

"Important to note is that with a twist of the timeline, Chambers could just as easily have been subjected to the “wrath” of the Roosevelt administration or the “wrath” of the Eisenhower administration. Both of these administrations shared with Truman’s the same propensity for suppression when it came to the touchy subject of domestic Communist conspiracy. In the end, this had the effect of protecting the Communist conspiracy itself. In FDR’s case, for example, the president personally tried to shut down Rep. Martin Dies’s investigations into Communist conspiracy—and later his political career. In Eisenhower’s case, as president he was personally involved in efforts to shut down Senator Joseph McCarthy’s quite similar investigations. In all such cases, as with the Hiss case, this meant that both the extent and the impact of the conspiracies were officially downplayed, denied, suppressed, and/or ignored by those elected leaders directly responsible for defending the Constitution. In each and every instance, it was the anti-Communists, the ex-Communists, and the Cassandras who were punished and castigated by the Washington Establishment, and then ostracized for their “crimes” of exposing treason.


This question drove me further past the pat narratives that have sufficed for too long. It is particularly pertinent today as we watch the same Establishment forces coalescing anew to suppress logical and, indeed, patriotic questions about hostile Islamic penetration of the U.S. government particularly since 9/11.10 When did this ugly stuff really get going? A related question: When did anti-Communism itself—the philosophical and political drive against state domination of the individual—become a radioactive inheritance of perceived bigotry and mass hysteria to be passed down, gingerly, generation to generation? It must be here where the origins of our indifference to the plight of the anti-Communist witnesses and to Cold War victory and Communist crime lie. What I was looking for, then, was the beginnings of the greatest propaganda coup and flimflam operation in history: the hocus-pocus transformation of liberty-loving anti-Communism into a force of repression to be reviled—not always by the people, who were reflexively anti-Communist, but certainly by the elite expression of public conscience. There was a flip side to the phenomenon, too: the hocus-pocus transformation of totalitarian Communism into a force of liberalism, later liberation, to be shielded or even fully embraced by that same public conscience. It was almost as if a giant syringe of novocaine had been injected into the body politic at some unknown point and with permanent effect: the numbed sensibility that reflexively reviles the evil of Hitler but calmly accepts that of Stalin, Mao, and other Red thugs and killers. Among the many manifestations of this weirdly insenate state, my symbolic favorite is the eye-catching frequency with which Warhol’s silkscreen of Chairman Mao pops up as an aspect of chic in lavishly decorated homes, glorious fruits of the freeish market as celebrated in four-color, glossy shelter magazines. And no, irony is not a fig leaf for the mass murderer over the mantelpiece. His pride of place is more evidence of internal rot and betrayal...."

Reflecting "the hocus-pocus transformation of totalitarian Communism into a force of liberalism," West notes interestingly that other media professionals have shown a similar penchant for hanging Communist imagery in their homes:

"I wrote [an article] back in 2003 noting the Warhol portrait of Mao over the fireplace of a home belonging to a Newsweek/Wall Street Journal couple, at that time recently returned home from Beijing and featured in Vogue. The couple was having problems Americanizing their son, it seemed, whom they had enrolled in St Ann's School in Brooklyn, a school so Left-wing, I noted at the time, it featured third graders' portraits of Lenin on the website. I just checked the school site, and eleven years later, it still does."

West concludes her piece with a further excerpt from "American Betrayal" -- laying out the Leftist mindset that leads to the whitewashing of and even reverence for Communist tyranny -- which by implication in her view may explain the propaganda hanging in the Carney house:

"...Sterling’s comment is testament to the awesome powers of “the belief” in the Big G-Goodness of the “Left,” the political, cultural catchall term we use to encompass all abstractions and ideologies of the revolutionaries and “reformers” who were, and are, naive or egotistical or zealous or power-mad enough to force utopian transformation on the rest of us by government fiat, by mandatory “inclusiveness,” by police-backed diktat. The Left is all and only about social harmony by command performance. We can chalk up at least one hundred million murders to its most successful alumni, as tallied by The Black Book of Communism, but the animating spirit of “the Left” still retains its glow, its catechisms archaic but basically unchanged, the faith long having become a hardwired reflex:

Left, Good; Right, Bad.

“The people,” good; We, the People, “imperialist.”

Individuals (especially businessmen), greedy.

Hollywood Blacklist, bad.

Hollywood Ten, martyrs (except “squealer” Dmytryk).

Elia Kazan, Judas.

Communists: persecuted freethinkers. Have you left no sense of decency?

"McCarthyism": repression.

Mao, expensive decorative art.

Che Guevara, fashion statement.

Ho Chi Minh, agrarian."

One last thing…
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