9781566637701

No Sense of Decency : The Army-McCarthy Hearings: A Demagogue Falls and Television Takes Charge of American Politics

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781566637701

  • ISBN10:

    1566637708

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-02-15
  • Publisher: Natl Book Network
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Summary

Have you no sense of decency, sir? asked attorney Robert Welch in a climatic moment in the 1954 Senate hearings that pitted Joseph R. McCarthy against the United States Army, President Dwight Eisenhower, and the rest of the political establishment. What made the confrontation unprecedented and magnified its impact was its gavel-to-gavel coverage by television. Thirty-six days of hearings transfixed the nation. With a journalist's eye for revealing detail, Robert Shogan traces the phenomenon and analyzes television's impact on government. Despite McCarthy's fall, Mr. Shogan points out, the hearings left a major item of unfinished business-the issue of McCarthyism, the strategy based on fear, smear, and guilt by association. But television overlooked this portentous omission, and as it went on to transform American political debate it exhibited the same shortcomings exposed by the hearings: an emphasis on razzle-dazzle and a reluctance to challenge power and authority-traits that persist today.

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