In the early 1950's, the threat of Communism created an air of paranoia in the United States and exploiting those fears was Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. However, CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred W. Friendly decided to take a stand and challenge McCarthy and expose him for the fear monger he was. However, their actions took a great personal toll on both men, but they stood by their convictions and helped to bring down one of the most controversial senators in American history.Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
Precisely every twenty-three minutes (the standard running time of television shows from the 1950s), the film is punctuated by a jazz song performed by Dianne Reeves. See more »
Shirley Wershba was pregnant on 9 March 1954 when the crucial broadcast happened, a fact not acknowledged by her portrayal in the movie. See more »
In 1935, Ed Murrow began his career with CBS. When World War II broke out, it was his voice that brought the Battle of Britain home to us, through his "This Is London" radio series. He started with us all, many of us here tonight, when television was in its infancy, with the news documentary show, "See It Now." He threw stones at giants. Segregation, exploitation of migrant workers, apartheid, J. Edgar Hoover, not the least of which, his historical fight with Senator McCarthy. He ...
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Even the rating band at the tail of the film is in black and white. See more »
This film portrays an episode in television history. That period was covered in a class on documentary film that I took many years ago as an undergraduate. So, I've seen the full episodes of Murrow's challenge, McCarthy's attack on Murrow, and Murrow's response.
McCarthy overreached when he went after the Army. And Murrow, I have learned from other sources, waited until McCarthy was politically wounded before challenging him. These elements are missing from the film. My guess is they were omitted to avoid boring the audience.
For those with no experience with McCarthyism, the film may be boring anyway as some have already commented.
However, like Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, which set McCarthyism in the time frame of the Salem witch trial hysteria, this film does a decent job of portraying the atmosphere of fear engendered by continual hysterical threats to the personal safety of the American people from within or from without. It does not show the chilling effect the atmosphere of fear imposes on the journalist.
It does show a relationship between the corporation and the journalist. This is an important point. It is well made. I find this the most relevant part of the film.
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