Countering Smears Against the JBS
by Michael Sawyer, Field Coordinator for Oklahoma and Arkansas
Question: I’ve heard people say bad things about The John Birch Society. Can you explain that?
Answer: Over the years as a field coordinator for the JBS, I have been asked this question many times.
Ten years ago, I was invited to speak to a large Tea Party group in my territory. When I finished my presentation, the group’s leader asked me if he could play “devil’s advocate.” He then asked if I could account for the “negative reputation” of the Society, even in conservative circles. I smiled and asked him if I could answer his question with a question or two of my own. He agreed, and I turned to the whole group and repeated the name of their group to them and asked, “Has the Tea Party ever been attacked in your local media? Have you all ever been called racist, sexist, and right-wing extremist, for example?” I asked if some of their own neighbors, friends, and/or family had repeated some of these accusations, even if they were baseless and without facts to back them up. The room went quiet, and several heads began nodding in agreement and recollection of what had been said about them over the few years the Tea Party had been in existence. I then held up a membership application, and said, “Welcome to The John Birch Society! We were the Tea Party long before the Tea Parties existed. Please sign here and make your check out to JBS.” I then went on to explain the organized attack the Society had endured and refuted for many years, starting in the early 1960s. I made some friends that night, and several people joined the Society.
The smear against the JBS was organized by Communists because of the fear they had of Robert Welch and the potential the JBS had to damage their agenda to subvert the United States. Simply put, the JBS was exposing them, shining the light of truth on their activities, naming the players, and accurately predicting their planned future for America.
The first attack on the JBS came in 1961, from People’s World, the Communist Party USA’s “newspaper.” It published an article entitled “Enter (from stage right) the John Birch Society,” in which Robert Welch and the JBS were accused of a whole host of offenses, every one of them baseless and false. The article was written to invoke fear and ridicule in people who had little to no knowledge of, nor experience with, the Society. Within a very short time, the controlled media picked up the article, adding to or subtracting from it, and a steady drumbeat ensued from every outlet in the United States. The goal of the Communist conspiracy was the destruction of the Society and our exposure of the truth.
The Society has continued to publish the truth and gain members, and we’ve achieved key victories over the adversaries of U.S. sovereignty. That we’ve not only survived but grown over the decades is proof in itself that the accusations against us are untrue. What we are “guilty” of is highlighting the real issues that the media continually distract from, exposing what and who is behind those issues, and organizing to return to the principles on which America was founded. Our members have confidence in the character of the JBS.