Magazine article The New American

Good Luck Finding the Truth Here: George Clooney's New Movie Good Night and Good Luck Continues the Smear Campaign against Senator Joseph McCarthy and Lionizes Leftist Reporter Edward R. Murrow

Magazine article The New American

Good Luck Finding the Truth Here: George Clooney's New Movie Good Night and Good Luck Continues the Smear Campaign against Senator Joseph McCarthy and Lionizes Leftist Reporter Edward R. Murrow

Article excerpt

Give George Clooney credit; he knows the core market for his new movie Good Night and Good Luck. The former television actor from the popular show ER opened his movie on the struggle between anti-Communist Senator Joseph McCarthy and television reporter Edward R. Murrow on October 7 to limited release in only five cities (Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.). Clooney picked the heart of American liberalism to premier his renewed attack on the late Senator Joseph McCarthy.

I viewed the movie in Boston--more specifically, Harvard Square in Cambridge. This was indeed the right place for a movie catering to liberalism and perpetuating its mythology.

The movie is based heavily upon the self-serving memoirs by Murrow's CBS coworkers Fred Friendly and Joe Wershba. It is written and directed by Clooney, who also costars as CBS Producer Fred Friendly. Senator Joseph McCarthy is played by the actual Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose appearances in the black-and-white movie are culled exclusively from historical newsreels. There is also some stellar acting by David Strathairn (Murrow) and Frank Langella (CBS Executive William Paley).

This movie does a good job of spouting the liberal line that McCarthy unconscionably targeted innocent victims and castigated them mercilessly, ruining their lives. The mood throughout the theater I attended was one of disgust that a U.S. senator would intrude into the personal associations of American citizens and prohibit Communists from serving in the government. You could tell by the tsk, tsking of people in the crowd every time McCarthy's statements were played.

The movie, of course, overlooks the fact that the Communist Party USA was widely recognized at the time as being a foreign arm of the Soviet government, an assessment that has since been confirmed by declassified secret cables such as the Venona documents, communications between the Soviet Union and their agents in America, which show that Stalin had been subsidizing the organization.

As Herbert Rommerstein and the late Eric Breindel noted in their study The Venona Secrets: "The Communists did not represent just another political party. Their loyalty was to a foreign power, the Soviet Union, and their goal was nothing less than the subversion and destruction of American [constitutional government]. To advance that goal, the leadership of the Communist Party conscripted whichever of its members were capable of espionage to assist the Soviet intelligence service."

At the time, the U.S. government required federal employees to assent to a non-competitive employment contract similar to what most corporations make employees sign--just as a software engineer for Microsoft Corporation can't moonlight at Corel, a U.S. government employee is not supposed to be on the payroll of a foreign government.

The movie co-mingles a corporate CBS "loyalty oath" with McCarthy's investigation of Communists in government, as well as government investigations that had nothing to do with McCarthy. The movie begins with one of Murrow's reporters (played by Robert Downey Jr.) discussing the CBS loyalty oath and the case of Milo Radulovich, an Air Force Lieutenant cashiered from the service as a security risk because of his father's communist political associations. Radulovich was later reinstated by the Secretary of the Air Force. Neither the corporate loyalty oath nor the Radulovich case have anything to do with McCarthy, but the viewer is led to believe there was a connection through McCarthy's supposed reign of fear.

"He's wrong 100 percent of the time," Strathairn's Murrow rails against McCarthy during the movie, adding later: "Anyone who criticizes or opposes the methods of Senator Joseph McCarthy is a Communist or fellow traveler." Thankfully, according to the movie, Edward R. Murrow and his crew of patriotic reporters at CBS news had the courage to stand up to McCarthy to bring an end to his long reign of terror. …

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