Monday, November 25, 2013

Good Night and Good Luck... There's Something About the Name Edward

Photo Credit:

Cidnye Weimer

"Good Night and Good Luck" is a movie that every journalist, reporter, producer, writer etc. should watch. It tells the story of famous CBS report Edward Murrow during a historic time, the Cold War. During this time of fear, Edward Murrow was challenged with the task of reporting the truth in the most ethical way and getting the message out to the American people while Senator Joseph McCarthy was inducing  widespread panic by claiming that more than 200 people were Communists.

According to the RTDNA Code of Ethics, it is most important to gain the public's trust, continuously seek the truth and be accountable, all of which Murrow diligently followed. Sometimes it can be difficult or scary for journalists to seek out the truth and be accountable for their actions, but Murrow understood that informing the public was the most beneficial and important thing he could do. The American people deserved to know the truth and deserved to be informed.

Murrow said "A nation of sheep will soon have a government of wolves." He is absolutely right. Our duty as reporters is to help the public know the facts so that they can make up their own minds.

Defying the rules
Murrow was told multiple times not to run the story. He was even told, “The story you are going to run tomorrow is without merit. These are very dangerous waters you are trying to navigate,” yet he did it anyway. The tricky part or rough waters that most news organizations delve through today are related to saving face. 

It is important to remember that sometimes your job or your company doesn't come first, but instead the truth and information you owe to the people is the No. 1 priority.

The Name of Edward
Watching this movie reminds me of a more recent case, the case of Edward Snowden. Edward Snowden is a former NSA contracter and CIA employee who leaked classified information to the press because he believed the public deserved the truth and the right to know. 

Similar to this historic case of Edward Murrow, Snowden put his job and his life on the line in order to serve the public and he believes that telling the truth is not a crime. "Though the outcome of my efforts has been demonstrably positive, my government continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense," wrote Snowden. "However, speaking the truth is not a crime."

Continuously seek the truth. That is what is most important.

Overall Murrow demonstrated the most admirable traits of a true journalist. What is the motive or reason for telling this story? What outcome will come from it? You have to remember to follow the codes and do your job for the right reasons. Is it better for McCarthy to continue to induce panic and widespread lies or is it more important to tell the truth so the public knows what's right and what's wrong?

Murrow did the right thing and is still an inspiration to this day.

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