Exposing McCarthyism

        History often calls it "The second red scare," the 1950's. Senator Joseph McCarthy was calling out so-called Communists many of which were celebrities even though he usually had little or no proof and bringing them to trial. McCarthy went after anyone sometimes he had no proof. There were a number of celebrities he went after. One such celebrity was famed World War Two radio broadcaster and host of the popular CBS television shows Person to Person and See It Now, Edward R. Murrow. George Clooney recently directed and acted most effectively as Murrow's good friend and producer in a black and white film reminiscent of the 1950s, titled Good Night, and Good Luck.

        Good Night, and Good Luck looks at the McCarthy scandal and the superb journalism of Murrow (David Strathairn). The film opens with Murrow receiving an award for his excellence in journalism. Murrow's acceptance speech flashes back to the mid 1950's. Many newspapers were reporting that Senator Joseph McCarthy, played by himself in the movie with the help of archived footage, was attacking alleged Communists, often with scant proof. Murrow says McCarthy is a fraud and that he can prove it. Murrow uses his show See It Now to expose and help bring down the Senator. Murrow invites McCarthy to make his rebuttal on the program. McCarthy takes the offer; he does not use his time to rebut Murrow's charges. Instead, McCarthy uses his time to say that he has reason to believe and can prove that Murrow is connected with the Communists. However, McCarthy just ended up making himself look bad with his ill-founded charges, which Murrow easily rebutted after McCarthy's outburst.

        Good Night, and Good Luck is a magnificent film, in which George Clooney gives an outstanding performance as Murrow's best friend and producer Fred Friendly. Good Night, and Good Luck is a great film, which deals with a very controversial time in American society. The film serves as a warning to us today in another controversial time.

Adam Morton

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