(Sen. Millard Tydings - smeared into losing re-election in 1950)
Before there was Limbaugh there was Fulton Lewis Jr. whose news/commentaries over The Mutual Radio network carried more water for the right wing than just about anyone else during the 1940s and 1950s. Lewis was a staunch supporter of Sen. Joe McCarthy and pretty much an attack dog with a microphone, digging dirt, spreading innuendos and fabricating stories.
One such target was Democratic Senator Millard Tydings(D-MD) who chaired the Tydings Committee in Washington investigating Communists in the government.
The reason for the target was two-fold. A: Tydings was running for re-election in 1950 and B: He criticized McCarthy for creating hysteria where there was none.
So on October 18, 1950, Lewis issued a stinging denunciation of Tydings, saying his committee was "whitewashing" the investigations and that Tydings had communist leanings himself. There was a doctored photograph widely circulated around the time of the campaign that allegedly showed Tydings with Communist Party Candidate Earl Browder - a photo later admitted to being spliced from two different sources since Tydings had never met Browder.
But the fact of the matter was, Lewis was carrying water for McCarthy and his commentary forced Tydings to defend himself which he did on the night of October 19th 1950.
Sen. Tydings: “It is always easy however, for those without facts to raise the cry of whitewash. And remember, that Mister Lewis never said . . never saw any of the 81 files of the persons mentioned which my committee examined. But he knows all about them. Remember too, that of all the Republican members of my committee, Senator Hickenlooper read only 9 of the 81 files and Senator Lodge read only 12 of the 81. I read all the 81. My oh my, what Mister Lewis would have said that if I, a Democrat, had read only 9 or 12 of the files of the 81 that were to be read, wouldn’t he have cut loose for fair? But on that score of course he’s as silent as the tombs.”
Even though rebuttal time was given over Mutual - the irony is that "a technical problem" prevented the first three minutes of his broadcast from being aired and no make-good time was offered.
In the end, Tydings lost his bid for re-election several days later and the forces of smear and fabrication won.