"A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy" is broadcast by CBS television. A special episode of See It Now, it has been created by host Edward R. Murrow and producer Fred Friendly as a criticism of the claims and tactics being used by Senator Joe McCarthy in his anti-communist crusade. Murrow makes extensive use of video clips of McCarthy to reveal the ways in which he has contradicted himself, a first for television.
Because of the general anti-communist feeling in America, any direct criticism of an anti-communist politician like Joe McCarthy is fraught with difficulty and danger. Murrow and Friendly are lucky that they are permitted to create the episode at all, but even so CBS doesn't support them fully — they are not, for example, allowed to use any CBS resources to market and promote the report. Thus they use their own money to pay for newspaper advertisements.
Senator McCarthy is outraged, but when invited to respond the short rebuttal he submits only makes matters worse for him. Murrow is very skilled at using the format of television and video to make political arguments; McCarthy is not.
Although resistance to McCarthy has been brewing for a while, Murrow's "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy" brings it all out into the open and essentially makes it acceptable to be critical of McCarthy in public. People from all walks of life feel like they can disagree with McCarthy's tactics and ideas without also being automatically labeled communists themselves.
Sadly, there is still little overall commercial interest in news shows like See It Now. It performs a valuable service, but interviews of entertainers and quiz shows draw in more viewers — and, therefore, draw in more advertising dollars. It will only take another year for See It Now to lose its weekly time slot entirely.