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A journalist of unmatched integrity, fearlessness, and professionalism with a deep sense of the common man, Edward R. Murrow had his misgivings about the new media of television, knowing that it could be manipulated for political or unethical purposes. Murrow's program itself was a vehicle for such danger as it was editorial; however, because Murrow was a man of great character, his editorials were non-partisan, a challenge to authority whenever he felt there was corruption.
Perhaps the most pivotal point of Good Night and Good Luck is Edward R. Murrow's discussion of the fear of Communism that swept across the United States, a fear ignited by the Senator Joseph McCarthy and his "Red Scare." His challenge to the actions of McCarthy is on constitutional issues, such as the writ of habeus corpus. In his movie George Clooney uses the confrontations between Murrow and McCarthy to exemplify the ethics, courage, and trustworthiness of this man. In this famous speech, Murrow makes very cogent points, such as "It is necessary to investigate before legislating." Further, he argues logically and ethically, "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." Murrow adds that people should not confuse internal with eternal information, and they should remember that accusation is not proof. And, when Murrow uses McCarthy's own words against him, this act lends verity to his already strong speech.
Always Murrow was committed to his profession, one that he felt required him to represent the other side of his arguments and one which called for his fortitude. He never feared telling the truth, convinced that he owed truth to the American public. While he effectively exposed McCarthy, the sponsor Alcoa withdrew from his program and Murrow was fired from his program and put on less important broadcasts until he eventually resigned.
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