Saluting the Heroes of the Fourth Estate
These Days with celebrity scandals popping up everywhere and tabloid journalism running rampant it's easy to forget how important journalism is to American society. Journalists have opened our eyes to hidden corruption and evil and daily they help us see our world in new ways that benefit everyone. I have a degree in journalism and a person I knew who had been a reporter and an all around good person passed away early today so I'm feeling particularly reflective. Here are a few books and films about Journalists who've made a difference in the world and inspired me: Good Night, and Good Luck: Many people have heard of and seen this film because of it's Academy Award nominations. If you have yet to see it you should. Actor David Straitharn does an excellent job portraying Edward R Murrow. The film details how Murrow and the staff of his CBS television show took a stand against the rising power of Senator Joe McCarthy. The actions of Murrow and his crew are credited with being instrumental in helping America overcome the climate of fear that McCarthy and his Red Scare created. The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broacast Journalism by Lynne Olson and Stanley W. Cloud: This is an incredible book that spans the ages. It tells the story of the team Edward R Murrow assembled to cover World War II and beyond. Not only does the book cover the events shown in Good Night and Good Luck but it also reveals the other extraordinary things and dangers Murrow and his team faced to help us understand our world. Like, Murrow used to broadcast directly from London during the Nazi's blitz of the city. His broadcasts helped America understand the terror the Axis Powers were causing in Europe. Another story details how one of Murrow's reporters had to parachute from a plane that was shot down by enemy lines and make a harrowing trek back to civilization. Murrow and his team also do their best to cover things like the Civil Rights movement. While the Murrow Boys is an inspiring an epic tale, it's also a tragic one. Eventually Murrow and his team run up against an insurmountable opponent, the rising tide of commercial television and the demand to be entertained insted of informed. Still the band of intredpid reporters struggled on to help their countrymen make sense of their world. Events Leading Up to My Death: the Life of a Twentieth Century Reporter by Howard K Smith: Smith was part of the Murrow Boys and lead an extraordinary life of his own. Perhaps the most famous incident of his life was the fact that Smith, who was covering Germany for CBS News, in a harrowing escape caught the last train out of Berlin just hours before the United States entered World War II All The President's Men: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are perhaps the most famous members of the Fourth Estate with their investigation into the Watergate affair, which was instrumental in exposing governmental corruption at the highest level and ending the presidency of Richard Nixon. Many people have read Woodward and Bernstein's book or seen the movie it inspired starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman and if you haven't experienced either you should. Especially considering it's relevance with all the government scandals going on today. Also in these divided times it's important to note that Woodward and Bernstein came from opposite ends of the political spectrum: Woodward was a Republican and Bernstein was a Democrat but the two were able to work together for the benefit of their country.