THE McCARTHY ERA (1954)
Sen. Joe McCarthy
on the McCarthy era Communist witch hunts
"To say that the Murrow broadcast of March 9, 1954 was the
blow against Senator McCarthy's power is as inaccurate as it is to
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
courage as the only antidote. What Murrow did was to administer
a strong dose of that medicine, then in short supply, and it was
that he did it on television, where the disease had reached
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."
of the broadcast "A Report on Senator Joseph R.
on the McCarthy hearings
See also the 2005 motion picture, "Good
Night, and Good Luck"
which portrays this period in American History.
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