History Timetable


World War II


The Holocaust)

"Hear It Now"

"See It Now"

McCarthy Era

"Harvest of Shame"



"Good Night,  
And Good Luck"

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The Broadcasts of 
Edward R. Murrow:
An Appreciation of
The Man & His Words

A Resource for
Social Studies
teachers & students 

Frank Baker,
media educator

Edward R. Murrow


Sen. Joe McCarthy

Background on the McCarthy era Communist witch hunts

"To say that the Murrow broadcast of March 9, 1954 was the decisive
blow against Senator McCarthy's power is as inaccurate as it is to say
that Joseph P. McCarthy, Republican, Wisconsin, single-handedly
gave birth to McCarthyism. The disease was here long before
he exploited it. Elmer Davis compared it to malaria and prescribed 
courage as the only antidote. What Murrow did was to administer
a strong dose of that medicine, then in short supply, and it was fitting
that he did it on television, where the disease had reached epidemic
proportions long before McCarthy became its chief carrier."
(Fred Friendly, from Chapter 2 "Due to Circumstances Beyond our Control..")

Murrow's most-celebrated piece was his 9 March 1954 ("See It Now") telecast, in which he engaged Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in a program "told mainly in [McCarthy's] own words and pictures." In the aftermath of this episode, the descriptions of Edward R. Murrow and his tradition quickly began to transcend the more secular cast that appeared in response to his championing of democratic action and principles in Britain during World War II. In his review of the now legendary McCarthy program, for instance, New York Times' TV critic Jack Gould reflected an ongoing canonization process when he wrote that "last week may be remembered as the week that broadcasting recaptured its soul."

Transcript of the broadcast "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy"

Listen:   Murrow on the McCarthy hearings

See also the 2005 motion picture, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
which portrays this period in American History.

This page was updated on:  05/18/2014

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