Saturday, April 29, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

I usually don't post so close together but I really felt the need to after watching the movie Good Night and Good Luck. The movie is about Edward Murrow and his classic battles over-the-air with Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1950s. Due to the revelations on Murrow's programs, McCarthy's methods of ostracizing suspected "Communists" were halted. But it brings a broader message than simply McCarthy. It attempts to demonstrate the importance of the media in our world. We all learn in school about how the media plays a watchdog role in human affairs, but do we really learn that? For me, being an aspiring journalist I hear many conspiracy theories about the downfall of the modern newspaper. And that may be, but the importance of the media will never go away, as long as people remain educated. I really think everyone should read the news or editorials in some form atleast 2-3 times a week. It is so vital to remain aware of the situations going on around you. As a human being it is your job to be a watchdog over other human beings. I wanted to share this quote from the end of the movie in which Murrow (played by David Strathairn) talks of the importance television should play in people's lives.

"Just once in a while, let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. Let us dream to the extent of saying that on a given Sunday night...the time normally occupied by Ed given over to a clinical surveyon the state of American education. And a week or two later, the time normally used by Steve devoted to a thorough-going study of American policy in the Middle East. Would the corporate image of their respective sponsors be damaged? Would the shareholders rise up in their wrath and complain? Would anything happen...other than a few million people would have received a little illumination...on subjects that may well determine the future of this country...and therefore the future of the corporations? To those who say, "People wouldn't look, they wouldn't be interested...they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated"...I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion...considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right...and this instrument is good for nothing...but to entertain, amuse and insulate...then the tube is flickering now...and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach. It can illuminate and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it towards those ends. Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box."

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