The public was very aware of the Communist menace, it was in every newspaper and news broadcast. Who could have missed the trial and execution of the Rosenbergs for espionage? What regular newspaper reader did not know the names Harry Dexter White, Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers? There were Russian spies in the US, as amply proven at the time and backed up by the records of the old Soviet Union when they became available after 1989. It is just silly to pretend these accusations were baseless. I would also suggest that the best informed sections of American society when it came to Communism were Joe and Sally Dinnerpail especially if they were union members or had been politically active in the thirties and forties, plus a small coterie of Eastern Ivy League intellectuals.