Good Night and Good Luck

By David Michael Newstead.

Good Night and Good Luck is about 1950s America and the famous clash between pioneering journalist Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Made during the Bush administration, the movie was always political and highlights journalism’s role in confronting abuses of power especially in a climate of fear and intimidation. Now, twelve years after it was made, Good Night and Good Luck is worth re-watching for several reasons. For one, good journalism is more important than ever and confronting abuses of power sustains our democracy. Yet, there’s another reason to watch the movie. Surprising as it is to realize, there’s a direct link tying our political past to the present: the disreputable lawyer Roy Cohn. Cohn was McCarthy’s top aide during the dark days we now call McCarthyism. Also involved in the infamous Rosenberg execution, Cohn would later in his career represent and mentor Donald Trump before being disbarred for unethical conduct. Having more than a few historical parallels, the film should be required viewing in the Trump era. The only thing that remains to be seen is if someone of Edward R. Murrow’s stature could even exist in our now fractured media landscape.

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