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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Edward R. Murrow on the media

On March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow delivered a blow to Republican Senator Joe McCarthy who had become a demagogue who called his critics communists.

McCarthy's efforts undermined a need to purge Soviet communists from our government. His efforts stretched and twisted the truth in a manner we sadly call "journalism" today.

I have no doubt that if he were alive today, Murrow -- who withstood the London Blitz -- would cringe at the pompous efforts of Jim Acosta of CNN to abuse his White House press privileges in his continuing self-promotional efforts at CNN.

Murrow's lengthy rebuttal and takedown of McCarthy applies today if we substitute news media for McCarthy, because 63 years later we find the men and women since Murrow are childish, churlish, and endangering our democratic republic by creating a Red Scare.

Taking his words and substituting the news media for McCarthy, one gets the depth of this danger.

From Murrow:
No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees news outlets are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin the news industry has stepped over it repeatedly. His Their primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism Putin.
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. 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 our 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 that were, for the moment, unpopular.
This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's the media's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post in particular have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not Really his it is theirs. He didn't They created this situation of fear; he merely they exploited it -- and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."
Good night, and good luck.
Yes, the media is worse than McCarthy.

More powerful.

Unaccountable.

Deadly.



Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's election.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.



Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's nomination.

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17 comments:

  1. Lou Dobbs ought to give this soliloquy on his show. To quote Murrow, I Can Hear It Now....
    -Fred

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  2. Yes, the media is worse than McCarthy.

    More powerful.

    Unaccountable.

    Deadly.

    ****

    And dumb. Very, very dumb.

    -Mikey NTH

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  3. There is one big difference between McCarthy and today's #ProfessionalLiar Media; while McCarthy was reckless and irresponsible, he was also correct that Democrats were infested with Communists.

    The Media are both malicious and wrong.

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    1. Yes, this comparison is not very sensible. McCarthy was basically right. Overheated, but right. Communists - which, at that time, meant hostile agents loyal to a foreign power dedicated to conquest - had indeed infiltrated academia, the press, the media, the government, and had been doing so for years. Their intentions were not benign. In contrast, the Press is fabricating outright lies, imaginary scandals, and reams of fake news, all with the sole object of damaging our duly elected President. The intention behind this is not benign, either.

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  4. The Communists are still here. - Elric

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  5. This is one of Don's best columns of all time. Perhaps the selfish degradation of his profession by the money men moved his journalist soul. I don't know.
    I saw this speech by Murrow when it was delivered but I was too young to get the impact. He was one of those luminous figures that seem to hover in history for awhile then vanish leaving only legend. Were he to suddenly reappear the mere fact that he smoked would keep him off he air and even out of the CBS building in NYC.
    Yet He is still undoubtedly the man his unremarkable successors would like to be.
    Several years ago I saw Steve Croft on a sunny day walking rapidly down Madison Ave in a full trench coat, hands in the pockets, intensely smoking a cigarette , the perfect image of the the Bogart private eye, or maybe he thought, Murrow himself. Image as substance.
    It is hard for me to imagine Murrow taking orders from William Paley to screw a political enemy. I don't think he would have taken such a command even though he was a very liberal guy. Probably Paley who was a wealthy and cultured man, and cherished the reputation of his singular self willed creation, would would have never considered it.Indeed Kronkite seems to have acted on his own too.
    However I do not have any problem conjuring up such a scene with Murrow's successors or wannabes elsewhere, all of whom it seems would most eagerly comply with any demand for prostitution if it meant staying in the crowded clown car, wear a hand made Italian suit fitted to you while sitting so as to make you look square shouldered during your act, get 15 minutes of fame, and most of all, get rich, now the only goal of value in their world.

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  6. Edward R Murrow. A dedicated journalist and commentator with unbiased love of America always in mind. So hard to find now.

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    1. No Enemedia entity would hire Ed Murrow today. He wouldn't apply at any of them in the first place. He'd probably say mankind's greatest sense is the sense of smell and the Enemedia reeks of Joseph Goebbels.

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    2. I'm not so sure about that; he gave Adlai Stevenson advice and assistance in '56 so he'd be more effective on TV when he ran against Ike again, and it was kept secret lest it shake Murrow's unimpeachable image. I've thought a lot less of Edward R. ever since I learned about it.
      -Fred

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    3. My parents voted for Stevenson. He even sent my father a hand written thank you note for a small contribution. I was for Eisenhower and not held in the highest esteem for awhile. Democrats we're not as rotten then as now. Almost all journalists at the time Murrow liked JFK and it showed. But he was no sniveling hating pile like Shep. It was all long ago.

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  7. Robert Mitchell Jr.July 15, 2017 at 12:49 PM

    I would recommend "McCarthy and his Enemies" and "Treason" by Ann Coulter. McCarthy was not a Demagogue, and was amazingly accurate, given that he was investigating a secret conspiracy. No, you think these things because the "Press" had no internet competition then. They lied and lied and lied to protect the Democrats, as they are trying to do today to Trump. Same game plan, same collusion with the Democrats. I thank God for the Internet, and I thank you for the job you have been doing. I just ask that you imagine what it would have been like to get the Truth out in those days.........

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  8. I am damn sick and tired of the term "McCarthyism". The communist sympathizers trash the man when he gets too close to the truth and his name becomes a synonym for "demagogue"?
    Boy, ain't that just bending over for the Leftists controlling the narrative so they can punk us for the rest of history!
    McCarthy was proven right when the Soviets fell. The Venona transcripts should have been shouted from the rooftops, but we allowed he man's name to continue in undeserved infamy.

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    1. Bravo! John!

      Well said and, of course, correct.

      Thank you for your defense of a man who kept ringing the warning bell but was sacrificed by the GOPe of that time to be scapegoated for (seemingly) the rest of U.S. history.

      They attack a man who was “made an example of”, and broken— and what's more, isn't present to defend himself from base and foolish accusations.

      I used to defend him. I defended him for decades, but being of the age I've aged, being wheelchair-bound, I just don't have the energy of my youth. I pick my battles, but my blood still boils when I read/hear people casually run him down!

      Like all of us, he was flawed; human. Unlike the bulk of us, he stuck his neck out on behalf of the U.S.— and had it shortened.

      Everyone who defends him, and those like him who put Life, Sacred Honor & Reputation on the line for Our Nation deserves, at the very least, their posthumous defenders!

      Good luck and Godspeed!

      – Gordon

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  9. Saw avideo of Shep Smith's Howard Beale
    moment on FNC.
    Shep's Channeling Mad Maxine...
    I am very tired of this
    BTW McCarthy was right...
    TG McCoy

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  10. McCarthy was right and Murrow was no better than the partisan hacks we have today. First time I have disagreed with you Mr. Surber.

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    1. Well, I may be wrong from time to time.

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