TRIAL BY TELEVISION by Michael Straight


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A review of that confused spectacle which took place on Capitol Hill last spring- the Army-McCarthy hearings which some twenty million Americans were to view at home with dismay and disgust- is also a level appraisal of the personalities who engaged in it and the public issues which were raised if not resolved. And so, through the day by day proceedings of this long, undignified and sometimes uncontrolled hassle in which the uncomely mien of political power and pressure was revealed, other faces show up too; Mundt, whose good fellowship diminished as his official incapacity increased; Jenkins whose ""credulity"" was largely a painful partiality which tapered off into obsequiousness- to McCarthy; Stevens, harassed and embarassed by the evidence of a too eager cooperation and concession; Welch, bemused and later distressed; Schine who was reluctant to leave a life of arrogant luxury to become a private; the sanctimonious Dirksea and the pacifistic Elsenhower; McClellan, the one truly dedicated and impartial figure; Carr, Cone, Symington- and of course McCarthy, with his rabid hatred and unassailable personal power- all these are part of this drama which was most significant as a demonstration of the violation of freedom by McCarthy and the fellow travelers of the revolutionary right. And, in retrospect here, it it still as alarming and absorbing.

Publisher: Beacon