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Nov22
Murrow
Over the weekend, I fought through the movie going masses that were looking for sorcery from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or in line to see a tribute to the Man in Black in Walk the Line. Don’t get me wrong, I am part of the masses. I am keenly interested in seeing both of these films, however, not on opening night. Instead, I took the contrarians path and threw down my ten spot and sat down to Good Night, and Good Luck.

The result was a mesmerizing experience. This was not traditional movie making but more a civics lesson from the past with clear implications and relevance to today. A review by Stephanie Zacharek from Salon.com could not have said it any better

"This is serious grown-up entertainment with a sense of history and a sense of style, the kind of picture almost no one knows how to -- or, perhaps more accurately, can find the means to -- make anymore."

Good Night, and Good Luck was directed by George Clooney, and was billed as a film that showcases the historic battle between Senator Joseph McCarthy  and Edward R. Murrow.

For me, the story this movie told was much more. It was about the power of one man’s murrow.jpgability to change history and the responsibility each of us has to seek and report the truth. On one hand, was the power of McCarthy and his ability to whip the public, through fear, into a froth of misguided judgment. Juxtaposed to McCarthy, was Edward R. Murrow, a seasoned and celebrated journalist who took a stand for truth and innovatively used the media to share that truth and thus, represented several qualities of leadership. Edward R. Murrow’s career as journalist had no equal.  From pbs.org:

“From the opening days of World War II through his death in 1965, Murrow had an unparalleled influence on broadcast journalism. His voice was universally recognized, and a generation of radio and television newsmen emulated his style. Murrow's pioneering television documentaries have more than once been credited with changing history, and to this day his name is synonymous with courage and perseverance in the search for truth.”

“Perhaps more than any reporter before or since, Murrow captured the trust and belief of a nation and returned that trust with honesty and courage. His belief in journalism as an active part of the political process and a necessary tool within democracy has forever altered the politics and everyday life of the American people.”

Murrow showed tremendous courage and leadership in seeking truth in a time in our history when speaking out against government officials, the media or your boss was certainly not the norm. He was supported in this effort by his colleague Fred Friendly and a group of protégés often known as the “Murrow Boys.” This team of reporters risked their careers to stand next to Murrow and be counted as one of his men. His inspiration led them to investigative reporting that changed history. His influence, his trust, his courage pushed the US people, government and media to serious self-reflection and ultimately change.

Although not elected, not appointed but certainly a standard bearer for truth and a leader of ideas and men, Murrow stated:

"We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility."

Edward R. Murrow did not set out to be a leader. Nevertheless, he stood as one against powers far greater than himself as an individual. His courage, his commitment to truth, his integrity, his innovative ideas and his cause to action made him a trusted and respected leader.

His story is inspirational and insightful for all leaders and those who cherish democracy.

In his own words, “good night, and good luck.”

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