Edward R. Murrow: An Anti-Communist Journalist

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Released in 2005, and written/directed by George Clooney “Good Night and Good Luck” can be termed as a historical drama film portrays the prolonged conflict which arises between the veteran radio as well as television Journalist referred to as Edward R. Murrow who partners up with Fred W. Friendly; his producer, and Joseph McCarthy, the US senator of Wisconsin with regard to the senator’s anti-communist actions as well as assertions that a large number of avowed communist in the US government are working covertly as Soviet spies (Clooney).

Who is Joe McCarthy?

In the film, “Good Night and Good Luck”, Joseph McCarthy is depicted as the primary antagonist, who plays the role of the senator of Wisconsin. Moreover, he is also the head or rather the chairman of what can be termed as the Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations which exists as a Government Operations Committee. In the film, Joe McCarthy makes the assertion that numerous communists to a great extent had infiltrated the US government; thus on numerous levels (Clooney). Moreover, he also alleges that numerous Soviet and communist spies as well as sympathizers have also infiltrated the US universities, the film industry as well as other organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union; hence, posing a security risk for the country. Following this, McCarthy’s “red scare” tactics which aimed at creating an air of paranoia and tension as well as exploiting people’s fears of communism subversion to a great extent becomes controversial (Clooney). As a result, McCarthy faces objection or rather direct attacks from Edward Murrow; a “veteran radio as well as television Journalist” who challenges the senator’s assertions.

Edward Murrow

Edward’s Murrow’s interest in opposing McCarthy’s assertions; with regard to communism, increases when Milo Radulovich; a US Air Force officer is ultimately discharged from the force; following his family members being communists after being declared guilty; thus without a trial and given the ultimatum of denouncing his sister and father. Concerning this, his interest is further piqued when it is discovered that the entire compilation of various charges at Radanovich’s hearing were not accessible to any individual as they had been sealed (Clooney). Following this, Edward Murrow wishes to use his platform; his news program, for the purpose of opposing Joseph McCarthy’s communist assertions which greatly undermined America’s traditions of civil liberties as his assertions and accusations drove a significant number of people out of jobs and also brought about popular condemnations; thus to other people (Clooney).

However, unlike Murrow, CBS does not want to oppose McCarthy neither does it want Murrow to pursue him due to his communist assertions. According to CBS, this is due to the fact that perusing Radulovich story as well as McCarthy would ultimately have serious and negative accusations inclusive of repercussions to not only CBS but also its sponsors who according to CBS news director have direct government contracts (Clooney). Sig Mickelson; the CBS director also feels that pursuing the story will also place the news network in a compromising position which could ultimately get all its employees in trouble with McCarthy as well as those who strongly believe that CBS somewhat sympathizes with communism.

With regard to the Alcoa (advertisements) after promising to have a talk with William Paley; who is CBS’s chief executive, concerning the segment; thus on behalf of the story presented by Milo, Sig Mickelson tells Edward Murrow that, “Alcoa won’t pay for the ads, and we probably won’t either. But nobody’ll stop you” (Clooney). However, to solve this problem Murrow lets Sig know that he and Fred Friendly will slip all the ad costs amongst themselves.

Context; who said the Following?

Concerning the context below, these words were said by the American Journalist Edward Murrow. In the movie “Good Night and Good Luck”, Edward Murrow says these words during a television report whereby, the journalist delivers what can be termed as a stinging editorial regarding McCarthy’s tactics; which to a great extent exploited people’s fear concerning communism, as well as their overall negative impact (Clooney).

Generally, these words by Edward Murrow said during the television broadcast and are in response of McCarthy’s controversial reports. Further, according to Murrow in the film, the working or rather primary thesis of the television broadcast is based on the quotation that “If the war against communism, has created a fight; thus against the two greatest political parties in America, it is common knowledge among the American people that ultimately one party would be destroyed, however, when this occurs the country would not ensure as a one party state system” (Clooney).

In the Murrow’s television broadcast, he explores different techniques used by the senator and explores several broadcasts featuring McCarthy making his speeches on communism after which Murrow analyses each of McCarthy’s assertions. The part of the speech below features Murrow’s concluding remarks in his broadcast after which he and his team begin receiving calls from his audience giving their different opinions on Murrow’s broadcast (Clooney).


Murrow’s is ultimately a figure of great importance; thus in the field of journalism while speech is of great significance in the contemporary world. Concerning this, Murrow’s decision; thus to take on the senator of Wisconsin; Joseph McCarthy, to a great extent constituted of what can been termed as a tipping point. This is due to fact that, using his television broadcast reflected below, Murrow successfully brings down the senator thereby, bringing an end to what can be termed as “McCarthyism”

which generally refers to the act of making unfounded accusations of what can be termed as treason/subversion without regard for existing evidence (Clooney). Through his speech Murrow also aided in countering as well as reducing people’s general fear of widespread communism propagated by McCarthy who undermined people by making unsubstantiated attacks; thus on their overall loyalty to the US.

The speech by Murrow is also significant in the contemporary would because it provides detailed insights into democratic principles from which relevant connections can be made; thus with regard to the present day. Concerning this, a central theme in Murrow’s speech is with regard to how much personal freedom should be restricted in an effort to preserve the country’s safety (Clooney). Therefore, Murrow’s speech aids in preventing certain groups of people from being targeted for investigations following unsubstantiated attacks.

Conclusively, another reason why Murrow’s speech is significant is due to the fact that through his broadcast or rather his speech, to a great extent Murrow set the standard for television journalism which generally, continues to not only inspire but also challenge modern day media journalists as well as activists. By bringing the dramatic events of the nation; thus into the homesteads of millions of American citizens with what can be termed as simple and strong grace which was not in any way pretentious, Murrow showed the need to promote the overall wellbeing of the society by educating the public in the overall movement of governments. Murrow’s speech also sets a somewhat high standard of not only professionalism but also quality which continues to challenge todays broadcasters.

Works Cited

Clooney, George, & Heslov, Grant.  “Good Night and Good Luck”. Warner Independent Pictures (US). (2005).

September 11, 2023


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