June 4, 1954 – Re-Cap of the days Army-McCarthy hearings – CBS Radio Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
It began in April of 1954 and was a daily ritual in American TV viewing every day during the week until June when it all came to a crashing end. The infamous Army-McCarthy Hearings on Capitol Hill. Live, unedited and riveting.
Even though Television was in its infancy, the notion of broadcasting these events was most likely a deciding factor in having a TV in the home in 1954 – if you hadn’t already gotten one to view the Kefauver Crime Committee Hearings or the HUAC (“are you now, or have you ever been a Communist”) hearings that grabbed America’s attention and didn’t let go – you were hooked.
It probably speaks volumes over America’s obsession with the sensational – the larger-than-life display of misfortunes, human and natural – dawning of the Age of the Armchair Voyeur.
But it got started someplace and the Army-McCarthy Hearings from April to June of 1954 were some of the most popular displays of our Government at work America had ever seen.
In case you didn’t know:
The Army–McCarthy hearings were a series of hearings held by the United States Senate’s Subcommittee on Investigations (April–June 1954) to investigate conflicting accusations between the United States Army and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy. The Army accused Chief Committee Counsel Roy Cohn of pressuring the Army to give preferential treatment to G. David Schine, a former McCarthy aide and friend of Cohn’s. McCarthy counter-charged that this accusation was made in bad faith and in retaliation for his recent aggressive investigations of suspected Communists and security risks in the Army.
Chaired by Senator Karl Mundt, the hearings convened on March 16, 1954, and received considerable press attention, including gavel-to-gavel live television coverage on ABC and DuMont (April 22 – June 17). The media coverage, particularly television, greatly contributed to McCarthy’s decline in popularity and his eventual censure by the Senate the following December.
This half-hour re-cap of the hearings, broadcast by CBS Radio, ends the first week of June. And like much of the hearings, were contentious, explosive and had more drama than any one of the many soap operas on during that time.
Enjoy the history – enjoy the show.
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