Derik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
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Saturday, 15 September 2012

CBS News See It Now 1954: Edward R. Murrow vs Senator Joe McCarthy: Ed Murrow Taking on Guilt by Association



I saw the movie Goodnight and Good Luck from 2005 made by George Clooney who actually played Fred Friendly in this movie. I've seen this movie a few times including in the theater when it came out in 2005 and it was about CBS News Anchor Edward Murrow, the host of the newscast See It Now. And how they took on Senator Joseph McCarthy who was chairing a committee when Senate Republicans were in the majority from 1953-55, when this committee was investigating Communists in the Federal Government. Ed Murrow and his staff concluded that Chairman McCarthy was accusing and convicting people they were investigating, based on guilt by association, people who were accused of. Associating with Communists or Socialists, were automatically labeled as Communists themselves, even if they were just suspected by the McCarthy Committee and the Ed Murrow Show decided that what Senator McCarthy. Was doing was wrong and that this had to be reported and be stopped if they can, which is exactly what happened in late 1964, just after Senate Democrats had won back the majority. And this was controversial of Ed Murrow and See It Now, because back then it was considered wrong for newscasters to take stands on issues, that their job was simply as reporters not commentators.

What Ed Murrow and his staff did was conclude based on what they reported and saw from the McCarthy Committee. That it wasn't a matter of opinion in what Senator McCarthy was doing was wrong but that Senator McCarthy was in fact wrong and what he was doing was so wrong, that he had to be stopped. That it was simply Un American to label people for who and who they might of associated with, either now or in the past, even if they are Communists, that attacking people or trying to punish. People for who they simply have associated with or may have associated with is wrong and that people should be judged by what they do and say, not what they may believe. Or who they may have associated with and this wasn't easy for Ed Murrow, because he was not only taking on a powerful Senator and Member of Congress in Joe McCarthy but he was taking. On his own bosses at CBS News who didn't believe newscasters should be editorializing.

Without Ed Murrow and See It Now maybe Joe McCarthy would've bombed out on his own and either the Senate. Or the country would've caught on, on their own but the media especially the TV Media wasn't as powerful back then as it is today and See It Now was the only show that was covering. This story on a regular basis and had decided that what Senator McCarthy was doing, was not only wrong but needed to be stopped.