Lead: In February 1950, an obscure U.S. Senator from Wisconsin shocked the nation. His charge: the State Department harbored 205 Communist traitors.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was the era of the cold war. Russia had exploded an atomic bomb, the Chinese masses were then ruled by a communist regime, Berlin was under siege and many Americans were concerned that Marxism was on the path to worldwide triumph. Into that atmosphere of panic strode the junior senator from Wisconsin Joseph Raymond McCarthy. His meteoric rise to prominence and spectacular decline into disgrace is a useful reminder of the power of the demagogue, the effectiveness of unexamined innuendo, and the ability of the media to give power and then to take it away.

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