Thursday, July 22, 2010

Greensboro's Edward R. Murrow Would Be Appalled

Edward R. Murrow would be appalled, horrified by FoxNews. He would not recognize so much of what passes off as "journalism" in America today. A stern lecture from Murrow is desperately needed.

Murrow was born Egbert Roscoe Murrow near Greensboro, in Pleasant Garden, NC. After education at Washington State University, Murrow joined CBS in 1935 and remained there his entire career.

Though a decorated war correspondent during World War II, Murrow's "high-water mark" came when he took on right-wing extremist U. S. Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. Murrow and his show, "See It Now", took on McCarthy at a very critical time. Murrow, a champion for the free and uncensored dissemination of information during the anti-communist hysteria of the early 1950s, began to criticize McCarthyism and the "red scare" at a time when most all others were reluctant to fire back. McCarthy's "red-baiting" had people fearing for their jobs and for their families. At that time, in America, you could be"blacklisted", believe it or not, for what you thought.

Some credit Murrow for singlehandedly bringing down McCarthy, hence the beginnings of the far-right's decades long repudiation of CBS News as an institution. On a famous national broadcast in which CBS accepted no commercial money, Murrow exposed McCarthy in a way that was seen as a turning point in the history of television. The broadcast provoked tens of thousands of letters, telegrams, and telephone calls, running 15 to 1 in favor.

Though the proliferation of news sources and outlets have proven so valuable and such a logical product of new and abundant technology, Murrow would be very concerned with journalist hucksters and the fraud which abounds. We can only wonder what a "dress down" the world of journalism would receive were Murrow alive. The video clip above gives us a glimpse. It is the real words of Edward R. Murrow as read by David Strathairn.


  1. Dad had made the acquaintance of Fred Friendly, while working on this bust.

    Whenever he worked on a bust like this one, or Paul Robeson's bust at the Theater at A&T, or the bust of Maynard Jackson for the MLK Awards in Atlanta, he became immersed in the person he was sculpting. Pretty good history lessons to be had out in McLeansville!

  2. Suzanne, what wonderful comments. I knew Ogden was a master sculptor and I know of some of his work but had forgotten about those you mention. What a gift his work is to this community and other communities. Thank you for the link. It is great.

  3. Suzanne, for Ogden to have become friends with the creator of "See It Now" and CBS President Friendly is so interesting and amazing. I know you are proud of your Dad. He was quite a guy. He tried to appoint me to the County Mental Health Board once (I was school counselor then) but thankfully they needed a county resident for the slot at the time and I was in the city. That board was a mess at the time! He and I often visited.

  4. The journalism of Murrow has died long time ago. It's now so much about money - who can get the biggest audience or readership. But even Morrow might have waved the flag a little too much for some.

  5. There is plenty of journalism around Murrow would be proud of....Wash. Post's Dana Priestley's recent two-year investigative piece on the growth of intelligence community since 9/11, embedded war reporting from the Middle East, PBS reporting, 60 Minutes, Ken Burns. He would be exceedingly proud of the NY Times, CBS, and some others.


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