A generation of Americans with party telephone lines learned the fascination of listening in on their neighbors. They also learned to converse guardedly, on the assumption that their neighbors were eavesdropping. While the old-fashioned party line is becoming an ever rarer luxury, a new kind of party-line was installed in Washington last week: the televised monitored phone call.

The new gadget has advantages over the old: instead of a handful of eavesdroppers, millions can listen: instead of guarded talk, the callers have unlimited misplaced confidence in their privacy.

Joe McCarthy held for...

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