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Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

George Clooney wrote, directed, and starred in this historical docudrama about the 1953 hostilities between television commentator Edward Murrow of CBS and "the junior senator from Wisconsin," Joseph McCarthy. The latter, of course, accused Murrow and many others of communism. Murrow, for his part, stood up to McCarthy's muckraking. More broadly, even at its dawn Murrow openly worried that television would become a medium that would "distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us," rather than teach, illuminate or inspire. He also decried the conflicts of interest between television's corporate advertisers, the government's efforts to spin propaganda, the military, journalistic independence, and the viewing public. We must never "confuse dissent with disloyalty," Murrow insisted. Can news ever be neutral? Should it even try to be? Does not most every perspective "censor" the news with its own commitments and predispositions? Given the radical polarizations of our contemporary political context, due in part to the role of media, this is a film that deserves viewing and discussion of the many questions it raises. At several junctures in the film Murrow insists that television viewers and the body politic get what they deserve: "our history will be what we make it." Good Night, and Good Luck was filmed in black and white, includes original footage of the McCarthy hearings, and won six Academy Award nominations.

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