Film Review “Good Night, and Good Luck”

One of my best American friends working in Journalism always tells me that I should watch this great movie, “Good Night, and Good Luck.” Finally I did. To me, it was like a well-round journalism history review, a journey to the evolvement of journalism.

The Movie "Good Night, and Good Luck"

“Good Night, and Good Luck” is Murrow’s signature out cue of his program. By watching this film, I got to know the career and life of Murrow, as well as the early broadcast industry. Actually, the two are not separated at all. In the website Historynet.com, Murrow was credited as “inventing broadcast journalism.” It’s probably true. By the time Murrow was producing his TV show “See it Now,” it was the era of radio. Murrow and his colleague had to learn from the basic shooting skills to make the program. They were the entrepreneurs, the adventurers, exploring a new field with their talented sense of journalism.

What Murrow explored was not only about advanced technology for that time. The ideology of journalism had also been advanced thanks to Murrow. The movie tells the story about conflict between Murrow and Senator Joseph McCathy. McCathy, senate from Wisconsin, was promoting this huge activity agains communism. Many people were accused of being communism. Many of McCathy’s charge could not support itself, but he got his national fame during this anti-communism campaign.

One of the things I also noticed is that Murrow used a lot of “We” in his program. It’s more like commentary. That is one of the feature that has been excluded from today’s journalism. Murrow, with his perfect looking for TV and charismatics, was like a knowledgeable idol who told the viewers the truth.

When Murrow did a story about the case of Milo Radulovich, who was fired from the Air Force because his mother was accused of being communism. Murrow explained his opinion about the case and McCathy’s anti-communism on air. Later, he rebated McCathy’s accusation with McCathy’s own speech. He encouraged Americans to be fearless and avoid the pointless accusation:

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility.”

We could always see Edward Murrow smoking in those old photos.

Murrow is indeed fearless. He even sponsored his program with his own money in order to speak out the truth in his program. However, CBS CEO Bill Paley still decided to move Murrow’s controversial program to Sunday. Paley, as he said in the movie, never censored Murrow’s program. But his last decision did show a compromise during the journey of exploring broadcast journalism.

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