"Good Night, and Good Luck"
by Last Night in Little Rock
I saw "Good Night, and Good Luck" (see imdb.com) tonight, my first movie in weeks, which is bad for a movie buff, but I work too much.
I am old enough to remember some of Edward R. Morrow's broadcasts. This movie takes place between 1953 and 1958, and it centers on CBS News getting to guts to take on Senator Joseph McCarthy and his trampling of civil liberties. But, it is more about the fear of Americans to question McCarthy, and CBS's own trepidation of taking him on, but they did.
Throughout, I saw this movie as a methaphor for today and the attitude of the Bush Administration: "If you're not with us, you're against us." Everybody feared crossing or questioning McCarthy because they would be targeted if they did. The press questioned itself back then as being in lockstep with McCarthy, afraid to say or do anything that would cause the public to think they were giving "aid and comfort to the enemy." Then, it was communists. Finally, Morrow and his producer, Fred Friendly, decided it was time for Morrow's show to go after McCarthy before he did any more damage to civil liberties in America.
The parallels to today are uncanny. Today, it is the War in Iraq, and dissent is still questioned by the Neo-Cons as giving "aid and comfort to the enemy."
Like McCarthy's final fall from grace when the public wised up, George Bush's popularity is in free fall. Edward R. Morrow helped to wise up the public, and he was attacked for it. CBS was attacked back then as being the 50's version of the "liberal media" for questioning McCarthy. Finally, McCarthy was ignominiously censured by the Senate, and he faded away. Near the end of the movie, there is a great piece of film of President Eisenhower also talking about the strength of America to endure the likes of McCarthy.
We can thank George Clooney and Grant Heslov for the screenplay, but Morrow's words were all his own. David Straithairn does an uncanny portrayal of Morrow, and he delivers the lines just as Morrow did.
In the closing scene, Morrow reminds fellow broadcasters as he is receiving an award of their duty to objectively educate the public and not just entertain.
The reviewers are right: See this movie. It reminds you why you must "question authority."
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