When I was in college I studied journalism for awhile because I thought that might be the path for me. It was a chance to uncover the truth to make our country a better place; that sounded noble. I had teachers who were qualified and whom I learned a lot from. But as I had more experience and spent some time in a newsroom, I became less and less convinced that my goal was realistic, that it was more idealistic to think I would change anyone’s perspective. I felt like I was being told how to write and what to say and I wasn’t allowed to write what I wanted to write. It hasn’t been that long since I was in college and I feel like the boundaries of the first amendment are being challenged in ways that make our country a less safe place. I now find more reward in writing fiction.
In the new film Goodnight, and Good Luck star, writer and director George Clooney follows the relationship between senator Thomas McCarthy and his attempt at discrediting newsman Edward R. Murrow (David Straistharn(LA Confidential and A League of Their Own) in the year 1953-1954 when Murrow challenged McCarthy’s controversial character statements, of Murrow on air.
Murrow was known for his news show See It Now and celebrity interview program Person to Person for CBS-TV; McCarthy was a senator from Wisconsin who was the chairman for the Government Committee on Operations for the Senate. When an airman from one of Murrows’ programs is discharged from the armed forces without a trial and based on sealed evidence, Murrow challenges the dismissal on the air and makes an enemy of McCarthy.
That news cast brings about a tense relationship between Murrow and his boss, William Paley (Frank Langella), who insists that he stay bipartisan and suggests the public prefers entertainment. Despite this warning, Murrow continues on his path and Paley never censors anything he has to say. With approval from his boss, Murrow goes on air and rebuts the smear campaign that McCarthy has used, by spotlighting his technique for using lies and fear to control the public. It is this on air attack that became the beginning of the end for the senator. McCarthy is offered a chance to confront Murrows’ attack, but chose not to address his questions and continues to discredit Murrow. As time went on less and less people took McCarthy’s views seriously.
This is a one man show and David Straistharn as Edward R. Murrow, delivers a career-defining performance. You may recognize his face, but not his name; having appeared in films