"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling
Murrow's exposing McCarthy's tactics, etc. on national tv didn't pave the way for advocacy journalism. That's been around since almost the instant after Gutenberg got his bright idea. There was tons of the stuff written both in favor of and against abolition, women's rights, the Confederacy, etc.
No, the main difference between broadcast journalism today and in Murrow's time is that back then the networks ran their news departments at a loss. The news was considered a public service if you will.
While Murrow did not believe it was possible for a journalist to be completely objective in all matters, he thought it was always possible to report the news fairly and show all sides of a story. He was scrupulous in this. His See It Now shows are still considered by many as the greatest news programs in tv history, and the Radio-Television News Directors Association & Foundation give out a yearly award "honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism" that bears his name.
Now of course, everything's changed: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, etc. have all realized there's much money to be made in the news; which can only be a detriment to any actual reporting being done. A friend of mine who writes for a news program on a major network once joked on the phone to me that he "had to get back to writing the day's fiction." I laughed at the remark, but in a slightly chilled to the bone kind of way.
In regards to McCarthy, it's not as if Good Night, And Good Luck is the fifth movie in as many years dealing with subject. I think this might be the first done about any of it in my lifetime, which means it's also the first in yours; so you can't be that sick of it.
The McCarthy era was a dark one in American history. The issues at stake then are just as important now, and will remain so for as long as there is an United States. That being the case, it's necessary to bring it up from time to time; to inform the younger generation if no one else.
If you really want to get mad at a subject that has been done to death, can you all stop it with the Jesus nonsense already? Please? It's been two thousand years. Time to face the truth: He's never coming back, and you wouldn't get along with Him if He did (you think there's a generation gap with your folks, try coming to grips with your messiah's couple of millennia gap), and He's never heard of you. Let it go.
Also, Christian rock really sucks. Surely any divinity that encourages such things should be um, avoided.
More later, about other subjects.
Tuesday night I began on Level 3 of my improv classes at the IO West for the second time. Don't know if I mentioned it, but I was held back the last time and took a bit of a break before jumping back in.
After that class I believe I have an idea as to why I'm not progressing as fast I would like in improv. I've been trying to Not Look Stupid too much. I have to be willing to look Very Stupid Indeed, and that's just the nature of the animal.
On Wednesday I saw the movie Good Night, And Good Luck. Have you seen it yet? You must, as it is mighty.
In the early 1950s the Communist 'witch hunts' were full swing in this country. While not solely responsible for the climate of hysteria, no one made more hay of it than Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. His smear tactics destroyed the lives and careers of many, and scared even more.
In short, Joseph McCarthy, Republican Senator from Wisonsin was a fucking ASSHOLE.
Into the fray stepped broadcast journalism god Edward R. Murrow. Murrow made his reputation during WWII, reporting on live radio from the London Blitz. When the Allies marched into Buchenwald, it was Murrow who told the world of the horrors found there. His credentials and integrity were beyond reproach. Murrow was a hero.
The movie tells how Murrow used that same sort of courage and tenacity to help bring down Joe McCarthy. It's a shame they couldn't have gone into it even more, but what they have is awesome. The movie is as factual as possible, everything in it has been "double sourced" as if it were a news story and not a movie about one.
Oh, and it's filmed in the crispest, most glorious black and white this side of Frank Miller's Sin City. The soundtrack contains a bunch of jazz standards sung by Diana Reeves. Everyone smokes in the movie, EVERYONE, and I think that's cool too.
You can find a long radio interview with the George Clooney about the making of the movie here. An interview with Bob Edwards, author of the book Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism can be found here.
Good Night, And Good Luck is a film well worth your time and money.