Good Night, and Good Luck
The movie Good Night and Good Luck is one of the best civic minded movies to come out in the past decade. What a great movie to watch before our Nov 7th elections! It tells the story of Edward R. Murrow's courageous stand against Senator McCarty during the time in the US known as The Red Scare.
For those of you unfamiliar with US history, The Red Scare was a period in the 1940's-50's when people were deafly afraid of being labeled a communist. The fear was so great that suspicion was enough destroy careers and bring about convictions. Sen. Joesph McCarthy was responsible for finding and bringing people suspicious of communist activities to hearings and trials. However, in these trials, any semblance of a just hearing was thrown out the door as speculative, inconclusive, and sometimes made up evidence was presented against the accused. So great were these injustices that the term McCartyism was coined. Those who would stand up to McCarty feared that they too would be suspected of communism. It wasn't until an anchor from CBS, Edward R. Murrow, showed the public how McCarty's tactics were used to subvert the people's civil liberties. Murrow's reports galvanized the resentment of the American people to McCarthyism, which ultimately led to McCarthy's demise.
The movie really shows us the finese that Murrow and his partner Fred Friendly uses to attack McCarthy. Particularly interesting is their discussion on what constitutes fair and balanced journalism. Although seeing how these two brought about the downfall of Sen. McCarthy was the main draw of this movie, the main idea underwriting this whole story is a civic one. That is, as citizens we cannot "confuse dissent with disloyalty." It is our ability to voice our dislike of policies and open discussion without reprisal that prevents us from succumbing to the fears that McCarthy so easily manipulated. Unfortunately today, the Republicans and the Bush Administration have been working diligently to connect the dots between dissent and disloyalty that they just make me sick!