WORTH NOTING ON TV

WEDNESDAY

NBA finals (NBC, 9 p.m., EDT to conclusion): In Game 4 of the best-of-seven series for the championship, the New York Knicks face the Houston Rockets in New York's Madison Square Garden. Houston leads the series, 2 games to 1.

When America Trembled - Murrow/McCarthy (CBS, 10-11 p.m.): TV is often at its most interesting when it looks at itself, and this ``CBS Reports'' special is a welcome reminder of that fact. A documentary about a documentary, it tells the story of one of the medium's finest hours: the broadcast on March 9, 1954, of Edward R. Morrow's ``See It Now.''

That program's goal was to hang Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R) of Wisconsin with his own words by showing clips of the powerful demagogue who was constantly accusing people of being communists. He had cowed much of the country, including the government, but not Murrow, who attacked him on the air and thereby helped launch McCarthy's downfall, including his censure by the Senate.

It's hard for younger viewers to grasp just how much courage it took to confront a man as ruthless as McCarthy, who had destroyed many a career and even driven people to suicide with his often irresponsible accusations. On this show, anchored by Dan Rather, the fearful atmosphere is captured through news footage and by interviews with victims of McCarthy's rampage, as well as with the people involved in producing that famous program.

Murrow's producer Fred Friendly and Morrow's son Casey are among the people who recall the times. The rise to prominence of both McCarthy and Murrow is chronicled, as is the rather sad end of Murrow's career: He fell into disfavor with CBS chief William Paley, and his unflinching brand of journalism began to be pushed off the air by higher-rated entertainment shows.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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