Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Edward R. Murrow

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices."
Edward R. Murrow

Watching Good Night and Good Luck brought back a lot of memories for me. I remember Edward R. Murrow mostly from the perspective of a child. I watched him on a little black and white television. I remember the voice, the chair and the cigarette. He was not a man you forgot and some say he was the last really powerful journalist. Others would give that title to Walter Cronkite.

I don't think journalism today has the power and certainly have found it to not have the courage to take on major issues. American people apparently don't want them taken on and blame the media everytime they deliver bad news as being the reason for it, not simply the bearer of it. Everytime the media, like NY Times accepts another twisted story or writer who lied, a whole sector of the populace says-- throw out all the media says-- except probably Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.. In other words, listen to what we already agree with and that can be true of right or left.

Joseph Wersba writes in this link of Murrow as a friend and colleague-- Edward R. Murrow and the Time of his Time.

I was a child when the McCarthy hearings were going on. It was not until years later when I understood more fully what had been happening. I have read of them in numerous non-fiction books about the writers, the actors, the directors who were pulled before hearings to admit or not admit that they had been communists or supported the party at any time in their past. Those who would not say were often forced from work for years if not forever. Some worked under pseudonyms. There were movie stars who refused to cooperate but more feared if they did not, they would lose their own careers. Some like John Wayne honestly believed they were helping to insure the United States remained free. Others saw it as the end of freedom. The questioning came along the lines of-- do you beat your wife? The idea you did was implanted with the very question.

There are those today who have been trying to rewrite McCarthy into a hero of his times, who stopped Communism from taking over the whole movie industry as well as allowing the Soviet Union to take over our government. I am amazed sometimes at what 'some people' believe as I suppose they are about me.

Here are some quotes from Edward R. Murrow. As pertinent today as they were 50 years ago.

"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices."

"If we confuse dissent with disloyalty - if we deny the right of the individual to be wrong, unpopular, eccentric or unorthodox - if we deny the essence of racial equality then hundreds of millions in Asia and Africa who are shopping about for a new allegiance will conclude that we are concerned to defend a myth and our present privileged status. Every act that denies or limits the freedom of the individual in this country costs us the ... confidence of men and women who aspire to that freedom and independence of which we speak and for which our ancestors fought."

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. "

"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility."

Any of it sound familiar? -- that old what goes around comes around. Maybe each generation has faced this choice. Some more knowingly than others. We stand up for what we believe in-- whatever that is-- or we lose it. Accusations flow freely in a time like this. As Crichton in 'State of Fear' wrote, we have to sort through what is being said to the truth. It isn't easy because a lot have a stake in masking truth to suit their own gains.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good night and good luck was an amazing movie. Im way too young to have ever seen Murrow's broadcasts but it gave me chills when it was acted by Frank Langella.