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War, Film, Middle East, Culture, Cinema, Politics, Journalism, Government
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In the film Good Night and Good Luck, the infamous feud between noted journalist and TV presenter Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn), and Senator Joe McCarthy, who was the spearhead behind the anti-Communist witch-hunts that were happening in America during the Red Scare of the 1950s. This ideological battle, played out over the airwaves, is an example of Mass Society Theory, in which an ideological elite determines the mindsets and culture of an entire nation (Baran and David 69). In essence, while McCarthy was advocating for establishing a culture of fear and protectiveness toward Capitalism, Murrow advocated for tolerance, acceptance, and a fair and unbiased method of both journalism and government.
In many ways, this battle for journalistic integrity acts as the film’s take on contemporary issues of post-9/11 paranoia and surveillance, particularly with regards to Bush’s instigation of the War on Iraq. In both cases, journalism is afraid of challenging the government, often waving the flag in order to maintain a united front and to not make waves – this happened with the support of McCarthy in the news in the 1950s, and the support of Bush’s assertion there were WMDs in Iraq. However, in the former case, there was someone like Murrow who was willing to stand up and maintain journalistic credibility; Clooney’s film seems to argue that is missing in today’s world.
Baran, Stanley J., and Dennis K. David. Mass Communication Theory (6th ed.). Cengage
Learning, 2012. Print.
Clooney, George (dir.). Good Night and Good Luck. Perf. David Strathairn, George Clooney,
Robert Downey Jr. WIP, 2005. Film.
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