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Comments by Barney

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Posted on November 10 at 4:41 p.m.

Due to an editing error, Fort Leonard Wood was mistakenly located in Montana in my column. It's in Missouri.

On You’re in the Army Now

Posted on April 26 at 9:46 p.m.

Barney Brantingham replies: Back in the early 1960s, according to a letter from Paul Veblen, then News-Press executive editor, to a friend,, "We started seeing a surge of extreme right-wing political activity but had no idea who was behind it. Local political leaders, educators and churches were being attacked and a steady stream of red-baiters was coming to town under euphemistic sponsorship. Sam Gould, UCSB chancellor, told me that he was getting calls almost every night charging Communist infiltration and influence on the campus. Larry Fisher, minister of the First Presbyterian Church, was puzzled; he was under anonymous telephone attack because his church was affiliated with the 'communistic' National Council of Churches. Sam Wake, than whom there is no finer or gutsier, was catching hell because his adult education program was dealing with issues that should not be touched. And on and on. One morning Dr. Granville Knight came into my office." Veblen said he laid a six-inch stack of John Birch Society pamphlets on Veblen's desk. After reading them and meeting with Dr. Knight, Veblen said that "It seemed to me that the Society was making wild, generalized charges without substantiation." Veblen wrote, "I think that Knight, who was a founding member of the national Birch organization, came forward with the material in hope that the News-Press would support the group." After an editor friend sent him a copy of Welch's "The Politician," Veblen saw that it charged, among other things, "that Eisenhower was a traitor and that Roosevelt and Truman and the Dulles brothers and Earl Warren were tools of the Communists." Veblen then assigned reporter Hans Engh to find out what he could about Birch operations here. After the series of articles ran,the News-Press editorial that won the Pulitzer said, in part: "The News-Press condemns the tactics that have brought anonymous telephone calls of denunciation to Santa Barbarans in recent weeks from members of the John Birch Society or their sympathizers." The editorial called it a "semi-secret" organization and challenged the members to "Come up from underground." Although Dr. Knight was a leader of the organization at no time was he accused of actually making the calls.

On Campaigns of Vilification

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