To: John Filson
Thanks for the ping originally and later the compliment.
Wasn't able to read the article you posted or respond earlier because of lack of time here. I did read the article this morning and it is a real eye opener.
Unfortunately I didn't know much about Joe McCarthy and only a little about Murrow (mostly about his association w/ Shirer and the WWII CBS broadcast. When I'm not very well educated in personalities and news worthy events I tend to stay out of the discussions in order not to embarrass myself.
(I tend to jump to conclusions often and am trying to delete this from my methods of reading, posting and replying.)
Followed a thread between you and a couple of other Freepers on a tangent of something I posted last week. It was a good discussion to read, but I didn't feel I knew enough about it to add my two cents.
One other thing I should admit to, just picked up a book of Shire's broadcasts from Berlin from local library ( it was published within the last couple of years) and discovered that most of these are not "straight and hard news". He often speaks from a personal point of view and in regards to what he is observing and experiencing on the streets. There isn't too much fact to verify his observations, (he was heavily censored)unless he was given a copy of degrees that the Nazis were putting into effect daily. So I must admit that from today's perspective on journalism he might be considered a Liberal.
I have to say the big reason I am such an admirer is that in reading his books I can understand the political webs and associations that existed (it's not the preponderance of names and society or party connections that were so cut and dry in my 20th century European World History classes I took in college. Shirer's reports made me see what he saw, and as an American feel what he felt. I also feel that he had a sane,logical and honest perception of what was occurring, something that seems lost to reporters today. Black was black and white was white and you didn't question what your "common sense" or your basic sense of morality told you. You didn't go around each issue and personality making excuses for them, or try to get people to "understand why psychologically or sociologically it happened. You just reported the facts, truthfully and honestly with little or no commentary. The 'chips would fall where they may', 'the proof would be in the pudding' and readers would be able to make up their own minds of how they felt given what they knew.
The McCarthy story is painful for America. I hope that as history moves forward, we'll understand it better. He was right to try to root out communism from our government, and he was proven right about many of his accusations. The seeds of our current culture war were already growing by then, and people who misunderstood McCarthy were quick to accuse him of exceeding his authority. We had just won a world war against fascism in which government power had been abused, and so liberals were ever on the lookout for men in government who might follow suit. They didn't realize that they were laying the foundation for more tyranny as they continued in FDR's footsteps.
I think we have to keep discussing the "McCarthy experience," which Murrow truly pictured in the American mind with his critical commentaries about the anti-communist movement. I think people like Ann Coulter are right, but we need to go a step further in analyzing why Murrow wanted to attack McCarthy. It's in this very knee-jerk response that we find today's liberals demonizing the Bush administration's Iraq war and taxation policies. They're quick to yell "fascist!" or the equivalent; that's not much different from what was happening during the McCarthy backlash. Why? Finding out will help us explain the need to limit government as an essential for protecting America to ordinary people. Coulter and fans will be quick to say that liberal attacks are due to their treason; again, the fact that so many liberals are well-meaning reveals a need to dig deeper. What leads to such simplistic criticism of America's patriots? Idealism, inherent to the American character of wanting to right all wrongs and solve all problems may be part of it.
William Shirer opposed the Truman Doctrine, and Edward R. Murrow fired him from CBS over his opposition, according to wikipedia. Wikipedia doesn't say why, and a quick search on the Internet didn't reveal any copies of Shirer's radio texts or his commentary against Truman. One would suspect that Shirer was a liberal "America firster."
Murrow may have been more anti-communist than his critics realized. Again, he may have simply been offering a knee-jerk reaction to McCarthy's investigations. That his attacks on McCarthy were termed "television's finest hour," is an insight into why so many journalists think that the Watergate investigations were proof that the press would save America from any form of government "evil."
These reporters served a valuable purpose before and during WWII. Studying why they lent the force of their new political power to destroy such a fast friend of the nation will help us to understand the MSM's death grip on the west today. They believed they were right. They had our best interest in mind. And they castigated one of the most patriotic Americans of the 20th century in the process. A dedication to fairness is ordinarily a valuable quality in a journalist. What went wrong? What is going wrong with our MSM today? Unlocking these questions might help America and the west to survive. I don't think Coulter has the answers -- yet.
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