Skip to comments.Murrow vs. McCarthy
Posted on 12/06/2005 1:47:03 PM PST by smoothsailing
December 06, 2005, 3:05 p.m.
Murrow vs. McCarthy
Here is a coincidence of extra-parochial interest.
Hollywood releases a movie featuring (the late, lamented) Edward R. Murrow and (the late, unlamented) Senator Joe McCarthy. It is called Good Night, and Good Luck, and it portrays a famous broadcast denouncing McCarthy, shown in March 1954, on the eve of the Army-McCarthy hearings.
Murrow concluded his half-hour blast by inviting McCarthy to take the half-hour slot the following week to reply to Murrow's charges.
McCarthy's office advised CBS that the senator had decided to turn his half hour over to William Buckley to reply to Murrow. The film depicts this scene. William Paley, CBS boss, is leaving the office with Fred Friendly, Murrow's producer. "They want to give the time to William Buckley," Paley says. "I'm opposed." Friendly agrees.
A few weeks have gone by since the film was released. In Stamford, Connecticut, on Saturday, Buckley is seen at a movie house watching Good Night, and Good Luck. "Are you going to comment on it?" a fellow viewer asks at the film's close. Buckley says, "I don't think so. I've written two books about McCarthy."
But the next day there are large headlines in the Stamford Advocate, which is co-sponsoring an evening this very evening, Tuesday, December 6 featuring an award to Buckley by the distinguished Ferguson Library of Stamford, the first-ever Ferguson Award. It was 51 years ago that McCarthy named Buckley as best-equipped to answer Murrow, and now tonight!! he can do so in the heart of Stamford, Connecticut.
The Ferguson Library is an intensively active culture center presided over by a librarian determined to exhaust every advance in modern technology to elevate the literacy of the community. Ernest DiMattia has of course books and periodicals, but also films and computers and multicolored simultaneous translators the Ferguson Library is the most concentrated aggregation of cultural hypodermics this side of the next world's fair.
The evening is not designed to elicit my views on Edward R. Murrow's views on Joe McCarthy, but the Stamford Advocate is a newspaper, and perhaps will look me in the face before the evening is over and say: Well. What would you have said, in March 1954, if the cameras had rolled and you were talking back to Edward R. Murrow?
If that happens, I'll probably say what is correct, namely that my own study of McCarthy ended with his activity in September 1953, that his fight with the Army, which was what the fracas was about in 1954 which got him censured, and which loosed Edward R. Murrow was something else, that McCarthy had thrown restraint to one side, that he was deep in booze in those days and did some flatly inexcusable things, for instance his attack on General Ralph Zwicker.
But, if pressed, I'd have recalled that the current movie makes a heroine out of Annie Lee Moss, the black code clerk allegedly mistaken by McCarthy for another Annie Lee Moss, who was indeed a member of the Communist Party. Never mind, what mattered in the current production was melodrama, and orderly thought bars chiasmic effects: McCarthy smeared the opposition/The opposition smeared McCarthy.
Murrow accomplished this mostly by camera manipulation. When he died, in 1965, I reflected on the point in National Review. Murrow had uniquely the skill to wrest the highest dramatic content out of any situation. There were the bad boys and the good boys; and he was the good boys' best boy on TV. But more than just that, he did develop a form, he and Fred Friendly, that hadn't been fully developed theretofore. It went like this: PAN ON FULL FACE OF SENATOR MCCARTHY. He is perspiring and weaving a little in front of a microphone, preparing to speak. No music. Total silence. Then the Senator lets out a long burp. SHIFT TO ED MURROW. "Ladies and gentlemen, this evening we'll take a look at Senator McCarthy . . ."
That half-hour on McCarthy was Murrow's most important show. All the obituary writers mentioned it, and the great courage it took to attack Senator McCarthy which certainly indicated that this is a nation whose people are courageous, since everybody was doing it, or at least everybody who counts. Everybody moral. And Edward R. Murow was the most moral man on television, because he had the guts to show up Senator McCarthy for what he was.
The lonely demurral came from the television critic for The New Yorker. He made the point that there wasn't anybody in the world you couldn't demolish by doing to him what Murrow did to McCarthy. If there were five million feet of film on St. Francis of Assisi, you could probably find a shot of him running away naked from his father's house (he did), and Ed Murrow could prove he was an exhibitionist and a poseur (he affected to talk to the birds!).
I don't know what I'd have said on CBS, if cleared by management to come on. At this remove, one has only passing thoughts.
Interesting .. I had not heard of Buckley's involvement (or near involvement). I wonder what his books on McCarthy are like.
Not surprisingly, "Good Night and Good Luck" was a complete bomb at the theaters. Nobody except for a dwindling number of aging lefties really cares about that stuff anymore.
Murrow...Liberal...Media person...Communist sympathizer who couldn't figure out how to get on the payroll without attracting attention...loved by liberals...loved by Communists...loved by Hollywood...
McCarthy...youngest judge to serve in his state, left that and served in the US Marines in WWII with distinction, got in there against the advice of everyone, thought it was a bad idea for America's avowed enemies to have access to our government jobs or military jobs...sacrificed his reputation, his sobriety and eventually his life in an effort to expose the problem of Communists in the government...hated by liberals...hated by communists...hated by Hollywood...
Okay. I'm going with McCarthy.
Nothing damages a liberal's crusade like truth.
"Not surprisingly, "Good Night and Good Luck" was a complete bomb at the theaters. Nobody except for a dwindling number of aging lefties really cares about that stuff anymore."
It was really low budget though ($7 million) ...it still made 200% profit before advertising costs.
Clooney drops another bomb. He should stick to vampire movies where his particular type of acting/directing skill can really shine...
$21M after nine weeks.
Doesn't really sound like a DVD movie either, so they'll probably lose money on this one.
McCarthy was far and away his own worst enemy, and the bad name some of his tactics gave anti-communism have been a huge cross to bear for conservatives. I think conservatism and the country would have been much better off if he'd never existed.
WELL SAID! Cut right to the chase!
With a passion. They hated him then, the way liberals hate George W. Bush now.
Thanks for that link.
It was heavily promoted, I'd suspect those advertising costs took a big cut of the before-advertising profits.
Sacrificed his sobriety? WTF?? Was he trying to fight Communists by drinking them under the table?
"It was heavily promoted, I'd suspect those advertising costs took a big cut of the before-advertising profits."
Between my channel selection and my Tivo I must have missed the commercials - I mainly just saw "news stories" about the film.
It was never in thousands of theaters.
In that light, the documentary is considered a success. The guy who played Murrow is being considered for Best Actor and I have read where it is also being considered by some for Best Picture (that will never happen.)
Yes, I went to see it and while I did not agree with it, was nonetheless, enthralled with the portrayal of the 50s. Excellent stuff. No cussing. No gross out scenes....just good movie making. I'll take that any day.
It will no doubt lose to Bareback Mountain.
Unfortunately for Clooney, he'll be competing against Brokeback Mountain, which the Hollywood left will be going out of its way to prop up. Joaquin Phoenix will be the Best Actor frontrunner as he is the latest "biopic of a beloved tortured celebrity guy". No word yet on any last minute entries featuring the mentally handicapped, though.
"Annie Lee Moss, the black code clerk"
Moss was a member of the Communist party at least at one time. Moss acted dumb and was described as seemingly "illiterate." She wasn't, and was a code clerk for the army. She was a great actress playing off white bias about the abilities of black people. I haven't seen the movie but wouldn't be surprised if Clooney doesn't portray her in a fashion appealing to the interplay of liberal guilt and condescension.
A good movie would portray her away from the hearings, laughing at how she pulled a quick one on whitey. Give credit where credit is due.
It is not a documentary. It is not intended to be a documentary. It might have that "feel" but they are actors. It is even less of a documentary than what Michael Moore does.
You mean like "Fahrenheit 911?"
'It will no doubt lose to Bareback Mountain.'
Or, cLooney's other anti-american movie 'Syriana'.
Roger Ebert explained that was a brilliant technique because it indicated to the viewers that the producers could not find an evil enough person to portray McCarthy. Only evil could portray evil. I kid you not.
An interesting thing (at least to me) is that I saw it with my Dad who was a young adult at the time and who is very conservative still thinks McCarthy is bad and evil. When I tried to convince him that McCarthy had been proven correct, he thought I had too much giblet gravy at Thanksgiving. He said, "Everyone knows he was bad." The mainstream media will never admit the truth.
"I think conservatism and the country would have been much better off if he'd never existed."
But SOMEONE would have existed and THEY would have been attacked. The "cross to bear" was constructed by the left for the enemies of the left.
Remove the leftist BS from the McCarthy story and there is no "witch hunt".
His mission, coupled with the relentless beating and slander he was being subjected to by the media, drove him to drink.
LOL...though drinking them under the table might not have been a bad idea...:)
"But SOMEONE would have existed and THEY would have been attacked. The "cross to bear" was constructed by the left for the enemies of the left."
"...he'll probably get an oscar."
Typical Hollywood. The movies that nobody likes get the awards, while those we do like get short shrift. They should take oscar voting away from the hollywood types and turn it over to the public. Let us go online or call an 800 # to register our votes.
If they did that, I might start watching the Oscars again. I haven't been able to stomach them in years. Besides, they now have so many different awards ceremonies with which to congratulate themselves, it's all moot anyhwow. If you don't win an Oscar, you are pretty much garanteed to win one of the many "runner-up" awards.
Their attack put an end to the exposure of prominent Communists.
Best defense is a good offense.
Stalin must have been proud of his useful idiots.
They always want some whipping boy to hound out of office. Whether it is Richard Nixon over Alger Hiss, Newt Gingrich over the Contract With America, George HW Bush over Ronald Reagan ("end 12 years of Reagan-Bush), Rove, DeLay, Frist, Libby, Cheney, Bush....
They can't win at the polls so their accomplish it by smear.
McCarthy & American Jews.
Waves of immigrants came to the USA from 1880-1920: the Poles the Italians the Irish the Jews. Most of these ethnic groups voted for FDR by large majorities in 1932, 1936 & 1940, but over time they have assimilated and become less politically monolithic. Yet to this day the American jews still vote democratic by hefty majorities. Why? It is because Hollywood still strenuously maintains the communist lie about the 1950-54 McCarthy era. That lie is maintained by the recent movies A Beautiful Mind, and Good Night and Good Luck.
Shortly before his death in 1953 Stalin initiated the Doctors Plot. There are various reasons given for that. The KGB hated Israel. Many Americans who were enthusiastic supporters of the UN were Jewish. Edvard Radzinsky in his book Stalin argues that while at one time Stalin hoped Jewish financial capital would help rebuild the Soviet Union after the WWII, Stalin hated the prospect of suborning himself to the Baruch Plan and he flat out rejected IAEA nuclear controlspresented in 1946 (an attitude is not entirely dissimliar to that of Iran today.) The Russians were working on their own A-bomb based on stolen US designs. Stalin, himself a Geogian, wanted to insure that the Russians saw a Russian face to a Communist Party which was top heavy with Jews.
Whatever the reason, Stalin fomented the Doctors plot hysteria and broke off diplomatic relations with Israel. He was within days of preparing to exile the Soviet Jews to the Gulag (as was done previously with various other ethnic minorities such as the Crimean Tatars, Chechens, etc.), and initiate another great purge along the lines of 1938.
Stalin already had the concentration camps set up, and some of the preliminary accusations had gone out for the Doctors Plot. 100 or so Russian jews had already been executed when he died in 1953. The important thing to recall is that the Doctors Plot happened at the same time as the McCarthy anti communist business from 1950-54. Also in 1953, in the US the Rosenburgs were tried and executed for treasonand this less than a decade after the Holocaust. This naturally caused fear and suspicion in the US Jewish community. This fear and suspicion was played upon by knowledgeable communists and leftistslarge numbers of whom were themselves jewish. These folk not only knew about what Stalin had done in the 1930s and had been about to do with the doctors plot before he died, but also saw the McCarthy trials as show trials american style . . . that is, a prelude to an american pogrom. For which the Rosenbergs were exhibit A.
In a brilliant piece of jujitsu, leftists and communists imputed to Americans on the right exactly what Stalin had planned to do. But it was done soto voce. Basically, a blood libel was perpetrated on Americans without their knowing it. Worse, Protestant America was painted as the tribal enemy tooth and claw of the US jewish establishment without Christian America even knowing it. Never again! Was the battle cry. But there werent any such enemies of Jews in the USA. If there actually had been Christian tribal enemies in the USA, Meyer Kahane and his Jewish Defense League would have provoked them into a bloodletting. Why did Meyer Kahane behave the way he did? Because he heard the same thing as everyone else - all the Jews, that is. He heard about enemies of the jews in the heartland. But when he went to give battle, the only sorts of fights the JDL could find resulted in unintelligible court disputes in places like Idaho. In the end, Kahane married an American woman & helped expedite Stalins last wishto rid Russia of Jews. When his American wife committed suicide, Kahane lost interest in the USA and focused instead on Israel. When Kahane died in 1990 it was at the hands of a Moslem.
While the American public outside NY/LA were generally given the view that the McCarthy era was an age when innocent men were unjustly tried by suspicious anti semites like McCarthy & Nixon, the NY/LA Jewish establishment was given a very different story. They were given to understand that the democrats/liberals had prevented the US from visiting a holocaust on them - and that American Jews owed their loyalty to the liberal democrats because the liberal democrats were the protectors of the Jews. And this Meme went on untouched for decades after McCarthy.
This dual track story line didnt crack until the early 1990s when the KGB/NKVD/GRU opened up their files on the WWII-McCarthy period. In 1995 the USs National Security Agency opened up their Venona files. Both Russian and American spy agency files showed that McCarthy was right. The Rosenburgs were guilty. The US government notably including the Manhattan Projecthad been at one time soaked with Russian Spies. While McCarthy had the details wrong, he got the general outline of the story right. Why did McCarthy get the outline right and the details wrong? The reason is that McCarthys relationship to Hoover was the same as Hoovers relationship to the NSA.
The NSA told the FBI about the Venona intercepts but insisted that the FBI could not use NSA intercepts as evidence in court. The FBI had to develop their own leads. As a result most of the spies escaped prosecution. The FBI did not get their man.
In 1950 J. Edgar Hoover began weekly meetings with Joseph McCarthy. Those meetings ended in 1954. The beginning and end of those meetings coincided with the beginning and end of McCarthy star turn in the national spot light. McCarthy got most of the details of the spy story wrong but he got the general outline of the story right. His predicament was the same as that of the FBI. Whatever Hoover told himMcCarthy could not use in the senate hearings. To this day the FBI denies that Hoover told McCarthy anything about the Venona Cables and maybe Hoover said nothing explicit to McCarthy for which Hoover could be liable in court.
Needless to say, an American style shoah was never in the cards.
The reason that Hollywood hated Ronald Reagan so much was that he was an anti communist in Hollywood during the McCarthy period. To be staunchly anti communist in Hollywood or NYC at that time was to be at least vaguely anti semitic because in the 30s to the 50s communism was considered to be almost a secular form of Judaism in the Jewish communities of NY/LA. Given the reputation of the Jews in capitalist countries as the quintessential capitalists, this seems ironic. But in Russia, communism was a way to get ahead for the jews. And in addition to the opportunities communism presented to Jews, there was a biblical antecedent for jewish communists in the bible in the person of Joseph in Egypt because the relationship between Jews to Josephs Egypt maps over well to that between Jews and Communist Russia. And the history of the Jews from Joseph to Moses looks very similar to the rise to prominence of many Jews in the soviet communist bureaucracy from the 1917-1970 and the decades long expulsion of Russias jews after 1970 when it became clear that communism was not working. The Russians blamed Russian jews for the failure of communism.
Reagan was among the first wave of FDR democrats to switch parties. Reagans star turn in Hollywood ended after McCarthy, but his experiences in Hollywood served him well when he went into public service. He always understood the jujitsu of media talk of the age. Something that cannot be said of Nixon. Nixons rise to prominance began with his role with the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC)a role for which gained visceral leftist enemies with long memories (in the way John Kerry gained prominence during the Viet Nam era and made visceral enemies of the swift boat veterans.) Nixons fall also coincides with the Russian expulsion of Russias jews.
I would not argue that Nixon paid the price for Russias expulsion of Russian jews. That stretches the point. However, when I hear American based Moslems talking about McCarthyism being visited on them, I have to laugh. They have unknowingly pronounced themselves guilty in the eyes of many Americans.
The history of the McCarthy period now is forgotten among American Jews except for the vague idea that somehow Republicans are bad and somehow Democrats are good.
As for the Democrats, part of the reason for the loss of their inner coherence in the last decade has been that the part of their foundational raison dÃªtre which stems from the McCarthy era was revealed to be based on a lie. So now the core of the Democratic Party is the sodomites. Those people are not just confusing, they are confused.
David Horowitz interviewed by Rush Limbaugh some months ago talked about how his parents were communists and he was a communist in college. He said when he was in college his views were always treated respectfully by his professors. But, he said recently, a young Christian college student told him that his homosexual college professor had singled him out in class and asked him Why do you Christians hate queers? Asked why he continued to do what he did in the face of all the abuse he gets, David Horowitz said that - like Rush - he took public political positions because he had to. But also he said he did it as a matter of atonement.
He gets it.
Venona Historical Writings that include comparisons of venona and russian spy lists and the changing venona story in the academy. http://www.johnearlhaynes.org/page43.html http://www.johnearlhaynes.org/index.html