Category Archives: Murrow

Happy belated Birthday Mr. Murrow.

He would of been 100 years old yesterday. From wiki:

On March 9, 1954, Murrow, Friendly, and their news team produced a 30-minute See It Now special entitled “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy.” Murrow used excerpts from McCarthy’s own speeches and proclamations to criticize the senator and point out episodes where he had contradicted himself. Murrow knew full well that he was using the medium of television to attack a single man and expose him to nationwide scrutiny, and he was often quoted as having doubts about the method he used for this news report.

Murrow and his See It Now co-producer, Fred Friendly, paid for their own newspaper advertisement for the program; they were not allowed to use CBS’ money for the publicity campaign or even use the CBS logo. Nonetheless, this 30-minute TV episode contributed to a nationwide backlash against McCarthy and against the Red Scare in general, and it is seen as a turning point in the history of television.

The broadcast provoked tens of thousands of letters, telegrams and phone calls to CBS headquarters, running 15 to 1 in favor of Murrow. In a Murrow retrospective produced by CBS for the A&E Network series Biography, Friendly noted how truck drivers pulled up to Murrow on the street in subsequent days and shouted “Good show, Ed. Good show, Ed.”

Afterwards, Murrow offered McCarthy a chance to appear on See It Now to respond to the criticism that was given to him on the program. McCarthy accepted the invitation and made an appearance on See It Now three weeks later. However, McCarthy’s rebuttal to Murrow only decreased his popularity, already fading, even further.

He died two days after his birthday in 1965. Some of his memorable quotes:

“No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.” – Speech to staff, March 9, 1954

“If we confuse dissent with disloyalty — if we deny the right of the individual to be wrong, unpopular, eccentric or unorthodox — if we deny the essence of racial equality, then hundreds of millions in Asia and Africa who are shopping about for a new allegiance will conclude that we are concerned to defend a myth and our present privileged status. Every act that denies or limits the freedom of the individual in this country costs us the. . . confidence of men and women who aspire to that freedom and independence of which we speak and for which our ancestors fought.” – Ford Fiftieth Anniversary Show, CBS and NBC, June 1953

There were so many…too many to list here. This museum has a good writeup of his entire career. Below is a tribute CBS did after Murrows death.
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