Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Freedom of Speech: Edward R. Murrow

This is from a film clip of Good Night, Good Luck (2005), the journalistic life of Edward R. Murrow, one of America's most known and respected journalists. Edward R. Murrow is played by David Strathairn
It is based on one of the most famous broadcasts in defense of freedom in modern history. On March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow, produced a half-hour See It Now special entitled "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy." The show culminates in the final video clip on the values of dissent in a democracy. It is a direct response to the hysteria of McCarthyism, the Red Scare, and the fear of Communism of the 1950s.

Such sentiments and fears ring true today, with the fear of terrorism resulting in a climate of fear and silencing dissent. As Mr. Murrow rightly pointed out: "Dissent is not Disloyalty."
Edward R. Murrow's defense of liberty is described below:
We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. 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 our 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 that were, for the moment, unpopular.

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it -- and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."
Good night, and good luck."

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