Monday, July 20, 2009

Good Night, and Good Luck - October 2005

In "Good Night, and Good Luck," we have one of the best movies of the year thus far. The setting is CBS News in 1953, when Senator Joe McCarthy is perfecting McCarthyism. David Strathairn, a guy you’d recognize even if you’ve never heard his name, plays Edward R. Murrow as if he were channeling Murrow. Joe McCarthy plays Joe McCarthy and does OK.

"Good Night, and Good Luck" shows the decisions behind and production of programs that were the beginning of the end for Sen. McCarthy. Until Murrow and producer Fred Friendly, no one dared speak up against McCarthy. History shows Murrow and company did the right thing but at the time they were taking quite the chance. While chronicling events of 50 years ago, "Good Night, and Good Luck" is still relevant, as McCarthyism is alive and well today, although in subtler forms.

No less an authority than the last surviving Murrow Boy, Daniel Schorr, said "Good Night, and Good Luck" perfectly captures the feel of the mid-50s and the atmosphere of CBS News at the time. That’s nice, but more importantly, it’s a great movie.

[2009: I threw in the McCarthyism in subtler forms reference as a nod to some of the invective emanating from right-wing radio in 2005. Little did I know that three years later, the representative of Minnesota's sixth district would promote McCarthyism as public policy, and with no sense of irony, to boot.]

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