Edwin R. Bayley, 84, an educator and journalist who had been a searing critic of journalists who failed to challenge Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy's sensationalist campaign against communism in the early 1950s, died Oct. 27 in a health care facility in Green Bay, Wis. He had chronic respiratory ailments.

Mr. Bayley, a resident of Carmel, Calif., had a vacation home in Jacksonport, Wis.

He was dean of the graduate school of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley from 1969 to 1985 and had been a political reporter in Wisconsin during the McCarthy era. He also had served in government.

He was the author of the 1981 book "Joe McCarthy and the Press," for which he received a George Polk Award. The book tracked the senator's rise to power and what Mr. Bayley felt was the press corps' tacit acceptance of his sensationalist statements.

Perhaps the most shocking charge came in 1950, when McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 Communists working in the State Department. Mr. Bayley combed 131 newspapers' coverage of the incident and concluded that too few reporters demanded, "Show us the list."

As chief political reporter for what was then the Milwaukee Journal from 1947 to 1959, Mr. Bayley helped his newspaper earn a reputation as an adversary of the headline-grabbing senator. Once, at a political rally that Mr. Bayley was covering, McCarthy singled him out. "Stand up, Ed," he said. "Let the people see what a communist looks like."

Mr. Bayley, who was born in Chicago, was raised in Wisconsin. He was an English graduate of what is now Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., the senator's home town. He began his journalism career with the Green Bay Press-Gazette in 1941. During World War II, he served with the Navy in the Atlantic and Pacific.

After the war, he joined the Milwaukee Journal, covering local politics as well as three presidential campaigns. In 1959, he became a speechwriter and chief of staff for Wisconsin Gov. Gaylord Nelson (D). In the early 1960s, he was a special assistant on the staff of President John F. Kennedy and went on to become editor of public affairs programming for National Educational Television in 1962.