Time Essay: Watergate on TV: Show Biz and Anguished Ritual

Television, like history, has no precedent for Watergate. There have been other scandals and hearings—notably Estes Kefauver's crime probe of 1951 and the Army-McCarthy confrontation of 1954—but those took place before the epoch of the Living Room War and the three-set family. Yet even back in the '50s, when TV aerials decorated only half the American roofs, Joseph Welch, hero of the McCarthy hearings, warned: "Perhaps we should never televise a hearing until we are as completely adjusted to television as to our newspapers, until such time as no judge, no juror and no witness is appalled, dismayed or frightened by...

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