Tonight we are re-watching Good Night, and Good Luck., a 2005 Academy Award nominated film from Participant Media. As described on the media company’s website, “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 man Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) and Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations (Government Operations Committee). With a desire to report the facts and enlighten the public, Murrow, and his dedicated staff – headed by his producer Fred Friendly (George Clooney) and Joe Wershba (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 tenacity eventually pays off when McCarthy is brought before the Senate and made powerless as his lies and bullying tactics are finally uncovered.”
It appears that this movie is relevant again as we near the 2016 United States Presidential on November 8, in which the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has striking similarities to Joseph McCarthy. Fear mongering, deception, bigotry and false accusations are tactics shared by both men, and while McCarthy had his sights set on domestic communists and communism, Trump scorns undocumented immigrants, minorities and quite frankly anyone who disagrees with him. Yet sadly, that’s where the comparisons end.
In 1954, Edward R. Murrow and his colleagues at CBS exposed McCarthy’s lies through investigative journalism and were instrumental in bringing an end to his reign of fear. However in the current era, we seem to have lost that type of thorough reporting of the issues that affect us all, and in the case of the elections, there is a lack of careful and critical examination the candidates. Instead we have reporting that is neither deep nor broad and is all too often supplemented by the candidates’ surrogates with scripted comments.
So here we are in 2016 with a candidate for President of the United States of America who has never held public office, lacks basic knowledge in domestic or foreign policy, uses an elementary school vocabulary and has not been vetted by the press.
To use his favorite words, Donald Trump is a disaster, we have done a horrible job in scrutinizing him and that is disgusting.