The threat of Communism created an air of paranoia in the United States during the early 1950’s. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was the man who exploited those fears. CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred W. Friendly decided to take a stand by challenging McCarthy. They chose to expose him for the fear monger he was. Even though their actions took a great personal toll on both men, they stood by their beliefs. In turn, they helped bring down one of the most controversial senators in American history. This important story in American history and politics is shown in the film, “Good Night and Good Luck.” It is directed by George Clooney, written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, and stars David Strathairn, George Clooney and Patricia Clarkson.
As mentioned before, "Good Night, And Good Luck" takes place during the early days of broadcast journalism in 1950's. It chronicles the real-life conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations. With a need to report the facts and enlighten the public, Murrow, and his dedicated staff - headed by his producer Fred Friendly and Joe Wershba in the CBS newsroom – rebel to corporate and sponsorship pressures to examine the lies and fear mongering tactics carried out by McCarthy during his communist 'witch-hunts.’ McCarthy claimed that there were over two hundred card carriers in America. An awfully public argument develops when the Senator responds by accusing the anchor of being a communist. In this atmosphere of fear, the CBS crew carries on and their tenacity will prove historic and monumental.
The way that they attempted to show McCarthy’s true colors was to run a story on navy pilot, Milo Radulovich, who United States government called a security risk. Radulovich was said to be a risk because his father had attended meetings that could have been in contact with communistic acts. Without having a trial he was said guilty and asked to deface his father and sister to prove what was said to be their communist acts. He stood on his family’s side and refused to denounce his family. This story was so controversial that Murrow was asked not to run the show, but he did it anyway. Sig Mickelson was begging him not to run it in the fear of putting a bad name on CBS because they are all in the same boat and there is no way that the advertizing companies would pay for time during a stand against the senator. Murrow proposed that in that case he and Friendly would split the three thousand dollar advertizing bill to run the program because they knew that a stand needed to be taken against the accusations that were being made.
In the end Murrow’s air time gets cut down and moved so not such a popular night because of the controversies. He knew that someone had to make a stand for the senator’s accusations whether they were true or not, he knew enough to know that the Air Force was wrong in the way that they imprisoned Radulovich and that if it was not brought to the public’s attention that nothing would ever be done about it.
Many topics that were discussed in class or in our readings were brought up throughout the film. Each story that Edward Murrow Dealt dealt with had its own issue. One being segregation; this relates to our readings and lectures because we learned about the Supreme Court case, Plessey vs. Ferguson, which set “separate but equal” into effect. Separate but equal was in effect until the Supreme Court case Brown vs. The board of education of Topeka. It stated that separating blacks and whites was denying black children an equal education. Another issue that Murrow dealt with is the exploitation of migrant workers. This plays into what we have learned in class because we have learned that no one has the right to take away someone’s human rights because they cannot change that someone from being a human. An example of how we learned this would be Standing...
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