Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Good Night, and Good Luck

Alexis Bartolomucci

I watched Good Night, and Good Luck for my government class in high school and watching it again as a student studying journalism, I definitely watched it with a somewhat similar viewpoint. There are some similarities with watching it in a government class and a journalism ethics class because both classes are about what's ethically correct and how much someone can get away with.

Photo Credit: Reed Diamond-Live Journal Post

Not Afraid to Speak His Mind
Edward Murrow seemed to never have any question on what to say during his broadcast. At one point of the movie he even speaks about the Freedom of Speech. Murrow is not someone who is afraid to say what he believes in, especially if he is speaking about something that is a major issue at the time: McCarthyism.

He has his doubts on whether or not he should say some of the things on air because he could be seen as biased, which no one wants from a journalist. He is questioning the ethics of what would be best for the company, but he follows through on what he thinks is best for the nation as a whole.

Murrow vs. McCarthy
Throughout the movie, McCarthy is constantly accusing people of being Communists without any proof. Murrow does not believe that this should be happening and he wants to get the truth out to the public. He is unsure of what would come about if he decided to broadcast what the majority of the newsroom thinks about McCarthy and his actions.

Murrow and his news crew do have a meeting to discuss what they think would be ethically correct to broadcast, given that McCarthy is the one sponsoring it, and they at first agree anything related to McCarthy would cause controversy and it isn't a good idea. Although at first everyone agrees that it's ethically wrong, Murrow decides right before the broadcast that it would be best to go against McCarthy and exploit him for what he is doing wrong.

Am I Making the Right Decision?
It was a debate in the movie between CBS employees and the editor about if what the crew decides to produce is the right choice. In the end it seems that Murrow had made the right decision on sparking debate with McCarthy because he is later being investigated for all the accusations the station made against him. Journalists have to be aware of the rules and other ethical issues when deciding if they will produce a story or not, especially when it has a large affect on the country and the public.

The ending is one of the most powerful scenes because Murrow's speech addresses journalism and how journalists have such a big responsibility on informing the public on important issues happening in the area. The audience wants to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and that's what journalists are supposed to do, but they still have to think ethically.

This movie, although set in the 1950s, is still completely relevant to journalism today. Every day journalists are faced with numerous problems and have to decide what is ethically best for themselves, their company and the public.

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