Murrow's Good Night to Senator McCarthy

         The movie Good Night and Good Luck was released in 2005 and was written and directed by George Clooney. Clooney also plays the important role of Producer Fred Friendly in the movie, while David Strathairn, effectively depicts Edward R. Murrow. The movie, which follows the actual events fairly well, is set in the 1950's amidst the growing threat of Communism. Murrow, along with his CBS staff, chooses to go against corporate and sponsorship pressures and criticize Senator Joseph McCarthy. The junior senator from Wisconsin has set out to weed out all the government Communists that he could find.

         The movie shows that Murrow believes that television and radio should be an outlet to inform and educate, not brainwash the public. He also believes that freedom of speech is something that is absolute. Even the government should be held accountable like everyone else.

         In the movie, Murrow focuses on the case of Milo Radulovich, who has been discharged from the U.S. Air Force because his father had subscribed to a Serbian newspaper. This was enough for McCarthy to link him to the Communist Party, and the government took action. Murrow strongly disagrees with this and blames McCarthy for similar actions like this around the country that are taking place at that time. The result of all this was somewhat of a debate that forms between the anchorman and senator. Appearing by invitation on Murrow's "See It Now," the senator accuses Murrow of being a Communist. Murrow retaliates with a rebuttal after McCarthy's outrageous accusations, and this broadcast was historic.

         The movie also is about the destructive results of such outlandish charges by McCarthy. One of his victims is Don Hollenbeck, who had committed suicide after having been accused of being a pinko, a sympathizer of Communism. Although another part of the movie does not deal with the Communist threat, this part still deals with repression-created deceit because a married couple working for CBS is forced into lying about their marriage, which they must hide, because such marriages are against the unfair rules of the time.

         As Straithorn's character does in the movie, the real-life Edward R. Murrow often closed each of his broadcasts with the phrase, "Good night and good luck." Murrow will be read about in public relation, journalism, and media classes for years to come. His actions were truly a set of stepping stones in American media and the messages they send out to the whole world.

Stephanie Cain

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