I had the occasion for watching a bit of “Good Night and Good Luck” the movie yesterday morning. Edward Murrow v Senator Joe McCarthy docudrama. Does anyone recall the Commie scare of the 1950s? I was born as McCarthy was continuing his hunts for “commie infiltration” into gvt and the U.S. Military and going after anyone who dared to question him. Where Murrow and the CBS crew at the time was concerned, they were uniquely brave to go on the air and question what McCarthy was doing. This was a particularly hideous time in this nation’s history, just by being associated with someone who read the wrong newspaper, you were immediately regarded as a security risk. If you were even married to someone at some point who had in fact attended the wrong sort of meetings, you were deemed questionable as to your loyalty. Yet, in spite of all this, the news media did its job and questioned McCarthy. Despite being called “leftists” for asking the tough questions concerning McCarthy’s persecutions of the innocent, ultimately, Murrow and his team were to prevail and McCarthy’s attacks on freedom itself was eventually thrown into disarray.
In an age where newspapers are suddenly reeling from having lost to competitive blogs, TV, a bad economy and etc. perhaps this is a lesson to be learned here. Murrow faced something far more daunting that truly did threaten freedom of the press and because of his efforts, that freedom continues to exist today. So, what has the news media done with the freedom of the press preserved for them by the efforts of Murrow?
They spend too much time discussing Michael Jackson rather than dealing with important news developments. They engage in political partisanship depending upon who enters office rather than taking a broad look and reporting on the problems, failures and successes of gvt as a whole. They provide fluff pieces over and above investigative work. Or they may instead kill investigative work if in fact an exposure of a company as sponsor of their program were to annoy or offend their sponsor. In short, the news media does not operate on courage any longer.
I think that “Good Night and Good Luck” should be a must view for all news media outlets, you could get here today only because Murrow practically single-handedly saved your industry for you. Now what you do with that gift is up to you.