The 65th anniversary of Edward R. Murrow’s report about Joseph R. McCarthy — extravagantly called “television’s finest half-hour” — falls this week. Over the intervening years, the program has become infused with a tenacious media myth.
And yet the program resonates still, particularly in Murrow’s comments about dissent and false allegations.
The program about McCarthy, the senator from Wisconsin who had unsettled the country with allegations about communist infiltration of U.S. government agencies, aired on the CBS “See It Now” newsmagazine show on March 9, 1954.
That makes for an appealing trope about media power and the agency of a committed, high-profile journalist. But neither Murrow nor his producer, Fred Friendly, embraced…
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