See It Now Confronts McCarthyism: Television Documentary and the Politics of Representation

By Thomas Rosteck | Go to book overview

4
A Little Picture of an Enormous Problem: "The Case of Milo Radulovich, A0589839"

At ten thirty on Tuesday evening, October 20, 1953, Edward R. Murrow turns in his chair and looks into the television camera before him. "Good evening," he says.1

A few weeks ago there occurred a few obscure notices in the newspaper about a lieutenant--a Milo Radulovich--a lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve, and also something about Air Force Regulation 35-62. That is a regulation which states that a man may be regarded as a security risk if he has close and continuing association with Communists or people believed to have Communist sympathies. Lieutenant Radulovich was asked to resign in August. He declined. A board was called and heard his case. At the end, it was recommended that he be severed from the Air Force, although it was also stated that there was no question whatever as to the lieutenant's loyalty. We propose to examine, insofar as we can, the case of Lieutenant Radulovich.

"The Case of Milo Radulovich," as the program came to be known, made clear that Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly were entering See It Now in the debate over national security, the rights of the individual, and the responsibilities of the state--the program's first direct and sustained examination of the issues that preoccupied the public mind and dominated public discourse in the decade after 1945.2

Moreover, in focusing upon the apparatus of national security and questions of individual loyalty, See It Now was clearly aiming di-

-55-

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