Television: Watching Drama Become Farce

In 1959 I was in Washington working as an investigator for a congressional committee when rumors of quiz-show fraud began to surface. An investigation in New York City had ended, the New York Times reported, with the grand jury reports mysteriously impounded, their contents kept secret. Its suspicions aroused, the committee sent me to New York, where we began an inquiry that was to expose a massive fraud.

In the congressional hearing room, one of the more famous contestants carefully described how he had been instructed in the acting techniques appropriate to a man rising to conquer intense pressure. We then...

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