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Good Night And Good Luck Essay

1454 words - 6 pages

Shortly after the Second World War ended, America was swept into a period of mass hysteria now recognized as the Second Red Scare. This period of time, which occurred from 1947 and lasted until the late 1950s, was popularly known as “McCarthyism.” As the lead proponent who spoke out against communism and subversion in the United States, Senator Joseph McCarthy added fuel to the popular fear by initiating a series of accusations of government officials who were supposedly communist supporters. This “witch-hunt” that resulted from McCarthy’s reign of terror is reflected in the movie Good Night and Good Luck. Since any challenge to McCarthy’s authority would lead to suspicion and eventual ...view middle of the document...

As the film progresses, we watch the process of how Murrow and his team gradually brought the downfall of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.
The film is relevant and successfully portrays the historical aspects of broadcast journalism in 1950’s America accurately. Initially shot in color, the film was edited to a black-and-white or grayscale theme in order to match the time period. Clooney also decided to incorporate actual footage of McCarthy presenting his speeches. These clips chronicle McCarthy’s reels and lend historical accuracy to the film. The movie also persists in establishing the “behind-the-scenes” of the early days of broadcast. In the headquarters, we see typewriters, heavy smoking, drinking, and episodes of stress that were to be expected in the business. The inner-workings of news and television such as the small space Murrow had between his chair and the camera were also believable. The film was also objective with the presentation of facts and newspapers. They utilized the exact words from the broadcasting between McCarthy and Murrow, and also showed the problems Murrow faced. These all contributed to recreating a realistic representation of the time period and the struggles of those who disagreed with McCarthy’s principles.
One of the most important questions the film raised was the influence and change of mass media. In the 1950s, the commercial business of the television industry had just begun to expand and grow. By this late 1950s, there were over three million television sets in distributed across American homes, and CBS News had established itself as a credible source of television reporting. However, many television networks were not immune to scrutiny by McCarthy, and it was also true that in order to appease sponsors, many networks censored and avoided any controversial contents. Television is also not completed protected by the first amendment. Newspapers can censure government, but the federal Communications Commission can revoke a television licenses. So, one important theme posed by the movie was the government’s relationships with the media. Due to different external pressures, early television networks that were struggling didn’t want to risk covering controversial topics that countered the government.
Furthermore, the 1950s were known as “The Golden Age of Television.” Despite early beginnings, this industry was widely successful and popular. This film emphasized the importance of an independent media. Loyal audiences tuned into their favorite television networks daily, and Edward R. Murrow was one of the most famous broadcasters during this time. His show See it Now lasted over seven years, and in the 1950s, television slowly overtook newspapers and radios in becoming the most dominant form of media. It had a huge impact on American culture and it all began during this time.
As influence of television grew, news coverage changed into a medium that audiences trusted and relied on. It spread...

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