The U.S. Blacklist derived from various lists: private (Red Channels) and Gov't (Attorney General's list). It was also the result of hearings held by the House Committee (HUAC) and McCarthy's Senate Committee. It was very exact about the alleged sins - from reading the wrong literature, voting the wrong way, and belonging to forbidden groups, signing the wrong petitions and opposing US policy. Not only did the listees not get hired, they were fired and harassed by the FBI from job to job. They were jailed, physically attacked, denied public housing, saw their children removed, their careers destroyed. Many never recovered financially and lived out their days in poverty. It affected every aspect of society and reduced US political discourse to the breadth of a child's hand. To claim this is only ferreting out the "disloyal" is indeed McCarthyism - the imposition of a political orthodoxy by banishing all who disagree.
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from the article: A McCarthyite attempt to brand academics