Goodnight and Good Luck

Summary:

The overall story of Good Night and Good Luck ,which was set in the 1950's, is mainly about the US's concern about the growing threat of communism in the United States. Senator Joseph Mccarthy, accused 200 card carrying people have infiltrated the US.

The CBS picked up the news of Milo Redulovich, who was set to be severed from the US Air Forces, found guilty without trial because his sister's political interest and that his father reads a Serbian newspaper. Redulovich was asked to denounce his father. Murrow and his team brought up the issue on his TV program. Raising the question whether a man should be accused and then kicked out of the air force due to connections of people who were accused to either be communists? Should he be regarded as a threat to the national security? Especially when the proof is not revealed to the public.Before the episode was aired, two colonels went to the office with the attention to "filter" and approve what goes on the program. Then ensued an ongoing "war of words" between SenatorMcCarthy and broadcast journalist Robert Murrow, from the CBS. The CBS is part of the Columbia Broadcasting System.


The issue that was raised in the beginning was the matter of selecting the topic. It seems that accusing of communism or affiliated to communism was something that occurred for a time with the Senator in place. No media at the time spoke of this affair. Many people were tried and labeled as communists, or supporters of the left. Causing this topic to be very controversial went it aired. Murrow and his team, brought up the topic with the intention to reveal the truth. To bring it to the intention of Americans, that injustice was occurring.


However, Murrow aired the topic without the knowledge of Pailey. And it was risky because such a controversial topic could draw the advertisements and support of funders who are of McCarthys' view.


A part of the program was dedicated to the interviews of Redulovich, and also gathered information from Mccarthys past interviews. In the beginning, they questioned whether that method of digging in past interviews was ethical or not, but they thought that. It was HIS words and not any one elses. And that they WERE meant for the public to hear, so they carried on with their program.


Some of the people in the TV program were even against Murrow's candid and quest for the truth.


They fully understood the risks that they were putting on themselves. They understood that they themselves will be looked for information, background checks will be conducted to see whether they were "clean" or not. Anything that would be a potential risk to the reporting would need to be removed. Therefore, one of Murrows team, who was previously married to a supporter of the Leftists withdrew from this case.


As it was expected, a few companies withdrew their financial support to the CBS. Murrow and Fred his colleague decided to cover for the loss with their own money to compensate. They were responsible for their doing, and decided that the network should not take the beating for their pursuit of the truth.After airing the controversial program, Murrow was moved to another segment, covering celebrities which he seemed to have no interest in doing so. After some time though, Murrows programs were applauded by The New York Times and other media, in the exception of O'Brien who stated Murrows conducts were a demonstration leftist support. However, Redulovich was then retained by the US air force and was back in it. This presented a victory for Murrows team.Murrow sent an open invitation to the senator, giving him the chance to speak and defend himself. In April 6th 1954, Mccarthy addressed the public that Murrow was involved in soviet propaganda about 20 years ago. That he had ties with socialist officials.

This was then addressed on the next program that again, McCarthy's words were accusing. He did not bring facts to support his claim, and also he failed to address any issue that he was accused of. His silence, was affirmation of the truth. Murrow however did state that he was given a book by a socialist official, but that he does not share his opinions and views on socialism. He addresses the mature American audience, that they were educated enough to befriend someone of the opposite view without being"contaminated" by their ideology. His job was to diligently look for the truth and report it. Senator McCarthy then was to be tried by the army for sending people to jail without facts. But this costed the network a lot of money, therefore people had to be laid off and relocated to other programs.

Analysis:

One of the main points of journalism that was highlighted in the movie was revealing the truth. It is a journalists duty to reveal instead of conceal. The movie is based on the true events of Robert Murrow and his criticism that brought the political downfall for Senator McCarthy's McCarthyism. It focuses on his television program "See it Now". Murrow and his team found injustice in the case of Redulovich and decided to bring the issue to the publics' attention. They faced many risks in their attempt to bring justice. Their career, reputation and The Columbia Broadcasting System were at stake. The network risked reduced financial support, in which they did. Excerpts from McCarthy's own speeches and proclamations were used to criticize the senator and point out where he had contradicted himself. Murrow and producer Fred Friendly paid for their own newspaper advertisement for the program; they were not allowed to use CBS's money for the publicity campaign.


Robert Murrow and his teams passion and persistence was rewarded as McCarthy was later brought to trial against the army. Another point that was brought up in the movie was neutrality in delivering their report. Murrow gave the senator a chance to come to the show to respond to the criticism and defend himself in front of the public audience.


From this movie I learned that in addition to gathering truthful information and reporting it to the mass, journalists can become advocate for social improvement. There's so much power that the pen holds, journalists mustn't neglect nor abuse this power. Media influences the masses, either to distract people from the reality or enlighten people with the truth, it depends on how the journalist uses it.