Monday 13 December 2010

Publish and be Damned?

After following the stories about Wikileaks over the last couple of weeks I thought of films that is, in part, similar to what is happening at the moment - The US government vs the Media.

There are two films, in my opinion, that every journalism student should watch. this one and the, more famous, All the President's Men for both how you should stand your ground and publish the truth without worrying about the consequences for both yourself, the organisation you work for and the country's government.

“GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.” takes place during the early days of broadcast journalism in 1950’s America.

It chronicles the real-life conflict between television news pioneer Edward R. Murrow (DAVID STRATHAIRN) and Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. With a desire to report the facts and enlighten the public, the ground-breaking Murrow, and his dedicated staff - headed by his producer Fred Friendly (GEORGE CLOONEY) and (ROBERT DOWNEY JR.) in the CBS newsroom - defy corporate and sponsorship pressures to examine the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy during his communist ‘witch-hunts’.

A very public feud develops when the Senator responds by accusing the anchor of being a communist. In this climate of fear and reprisal, the CBS crew carries on regardless and their tenaciousness eventually pays off when McCarthy is brought before the Senate and made powerless as his lies and bullying tactics are finally uncovered.

Yet Murrow and his team have paid a high price and the show is shifted to a lesser time slot. Their legacy, however, has remained intact and even reverberates today as the standard for high quality broadcast journalism.

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