Edward Murrow

Edward Murrow

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Edward Murrow, the son of Quakers,was born in Polecat Creek, Guildford County, on 25th April, 1908. Murrow attended Edison High School before studying at Washington State College. In 1932 he was appointed assistant director of the Institute of International Education.

Murrow joined the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1935 as director of talks. His appointments included William L. Shirer in Germany. Two years later he was sent to London to arrange concerts for the radio network. He also made broadcasts about politics and in September 1938 he reported on the Munich Agreement signed by Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler: "Thousands of people are standing in Whitehall and lining Downing Street, waiting to greet the Prime Minister upon his return from Munich. Certain afternoon papers speculate concerning the possibility of the Prime Minister receiving a knighthood while in office, something that has happened only twice before in British history. Others say that he should be the next recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize."

Murrow was a critic of appeasement and on 2nd September, 1939, he argued: "Some people have told me tonight that they believe a big deal is being cooked up which will make Munich and the betrayal of Czechoslovakia look like a pleasant tea party. I find it difficult to accept this thesis. I don't know what's in the mind of the government, but I do know that to Britishers their pledged word is important, and I should be very much surprised to see any government which betrayed that pledge remain long in office. And it would be equally surprising to see any settlement achieved through the mediation of Mussolini produce anything other than a temporary relaxation of the tension."

Murrow remained in London after the outbreak of the Second World War and his eyewitness reports on the Blitz made him a national figure in the United States. On 10th September 1940 he reported: "We could see little men shovelling those fire bombs into the river. One burned for a few minutes like a beacon right in the middle of a bridge. Finally those white flames all went out. No one bothers about the white light, it's only when it turns yellow that a real fire has started. I must have seen well over a hundred fire bombs come down and only three small fires were started. The incendiaries aren't so bad if there is someone there to deal with them, but those oil bombs present more difficulties. As I watched those white fires flame up and die down, watched the yellow blazes grow dull and disappear, I thought, what a puny effort is this to burn a great city."

In May 1940 Winston Churchill became prime minister: "Winston Churchill, who has held more political offices than any living man, is now Prime Minister. He is a man without a party. For the last seven years he has sat in the House of Commons, a rather lonesome and often bellicose figure, voicing unheeded warnings of the rising tide of German military strength. Now, at the age of sixty-five, Winston Churchill, plump, bald, with massive round shoulders, is for the first time in his varied career of journalist, historian and politician the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Mr. Churchill now takes over the supreme direction of Britain's war effort at a time when the war is rapidly moving toward Britain's doorstep. Churchill's critics have said that he is inclined to be impulsive and, at times, vindictive. But in the tradition of British politics he will be given his chance. He will probably take chances. But if he brings victory, his place in history is assured."

During the Second World War Murrow flew on more than forty raids in Europe. He reported on 3rd December, 1943: "Berlin was a kind of orchestrated hell, a terrible symphony of light and flame. It isn't a pleasant kind of warfare - the men doing it speak of it as a job. Yesterday afternoon, when the tapes were stretched out on the big map all the way to Berlin and back again, a young pilot with old eyes said to me, "I see we're working again tonight."That's the frame of mind in which the job is being done. The job isn't pleasant; it's terribly tiring. Men die in the sky while others are roasted alive in their cellars. Berlin last night wasn't a pretty sight. In about thirty-five minutes it was hit with about three times the amount of stuff that ever came down on London in a night-long blitz. This is a calculated, remorseless campaign of destruction.

In November 1944 Murrow reported on the new German weapon, the V-2 Flying Bombs: "I shall try to say something about V-2, the German rockets that have fallen on several widely scattered points in England. The Germans, as usual, made the first announcement and used it to blanket the fact that Hitler failed to make his annual appearance at the Munich beer cellar. The German announcement was exaggerated and inaccurate in some details, but not in all. For some weeks those of us who had known what was happening had been referring to these explosions, clearly audible over a distance of fifteen miles, as 'those exploding gas mains'. It is impossible to give you any reliable report on the accuracy of this weapon because we don't know what the Germans have been shooting at. They have scored some lucky and tragic hits, but as Mr. Churchill told the House of Commons, the scale and the effects of the attack have not hitherto been significant. That is, of course, no guarantee that they will not become so. This weapon carries an explosive charge of approximately one ton. It arrives without warning of any kind. The sound of the explosion is not like the crump of the old-fashioned bomb, or the flat crack of the flying bomb; the sound is perhaps heavier and more menacing because it comes without warning. Most people who have experienced war have been saved repeatedly by either seeing or hearing; neither sense provides warning or protection against this new weapon."

In 1945 Murrow moved to mainland Europe, first reporting the war from France and later in Germany. He was also with Allied troops when they entered the extermination camps at Buchenwald. "As I walked down to the end of the barracks, there was applause from the men too weak to get out of bed. It sounded like the hand clapping of babies; they were so weak. As we walked out into the courtyard, a man fell dead. Two others - they must have been over sixty - were crawling toward the latrine. I saw it but will not describe it."

A prisoner commented: "You will write something about this, perhaps? "To write about this you must have been here at least two years, and after that - you don't want to write any more." Murrow continued to search the camp: "We proceeded to the small courtyard. The wall was about eight feet high; it adjoined what had been a stable or garage. We entered. It was floored with concrete. There were two rows of bodies stacked up like cordwood. They were thin and very white.... It appeared that most of the men and boys had died of starvation; they had not been executed. But the manner of death seemed unimportant. Murder had been done at Buchenwald. God alone knows how many men and boys have died there during the last twelve years. Thursday I was told that there were more than twenty thousand in the camp. There had been as many as sixty thousand. Where are they now?" Murrow finished his report from Buchenwald with the words: "I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald. I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it I have no words. If I've offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I'm not in the least sorry."

In the late 1940s Murrow supported the persecution of members of the American Communist Party. This included the arrest of its leaders, Eugene Dennis, William Z. Foster, Benjamin Davis, John Gates, Robert G. Thompson, Gus Hall, Benjamin Davis, Henry M. Winston and Gil Green under the Alien Registration Act. In sentenced to the men to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine (Thompson, because of his war record, received only three years). Murrow argued on 14th October 1949: "One result of the verdict may be to convince a number of people that the Communists are not just another political party. In view of the mass of evidence produced in judge Medina's court, it will be pretty difficult in the future for anyone to maintain that he joined and worked for the Communist Party without really knowing that it advocated violent revolution. There have been many serious proposals to control, contain or outlaw the Communist Party in this country, efforts to hog-tie them without strangling our liberties with the loose end of the rope. It is both delicate and dangerous business. We can't legislate loyalty. But nevertheless the question of the control of subversion is one of the most important confronting this country."

Murrow became concerned about the activities of Joseph McCarthy and suggested that his friend, Raymond Gram Swing, should debate with Ted C. Kirkpatrick, the co-author of Red Channels, at the Radio Executives Club on 19th October, 1950. Swing argued: "I shall be brief in giving the reasons why I believe the approach of Red Channels is utterly un-American. It is a book compiled by private persons to be sold for profit, which lists the names of persons for no other reason than to suggest them as having Communist connections of sufficient bearing to render them unacceptable to American radio. The list has been drawn up from reports, newspaper statements and letterheads, without checking, and without testing the evidence, and without giving a hearing to anyone whose name is listed. There is no attempt to evaluate the nature of the Communist connections. A number of organizations are cited as those with whom the person is affiliated, but with no statement as to the nature of the association."

In response to this speech, Kirkpatrick's magazine, Counterattack , published an article on Swing where it was claimed that: "The National Council of American Soviet Friendship was cited as subversive in 1947; in late 1948 he was still listed as one of its sponsors.. In his broadcasts Swing often followed an appeasement line and defended Russian policy." The magazine went on to attack an article he had written for the Atlantic Monthly where he had argued that the people of the United States "can choose whether to work with the Soviet Union as a partner or whether to surrender to memories and fears." As a result of these attacks, Swing was forced to resign the Voice of America (VOA).

In 1951 he inaugurated in-depth television journalism with his weekly, 30 minute, See It Now. He also presented Person to Person, where he interviewed well-known public figures. Murrow, like many other liberal journalists, became increasingly concerned about the impact that Joe McCarthy anti-communist campaign was having on America. He was particularly upset by the attacks on George Marshall, a man Murrow regarded as "the greatest living American". A friend of Murrow's, Larry Duggan, Director of the Institute of International Education (IIC), was also accused of being a member of the American Communist Party and ordered to appear before the House of Un-American Activities Committee. Unwilling to name radicals he had associated with in his youth, Duggan committed suicide by jumping from his sixteenth-floor office.

Murrow now decided to speak out and complained about McCarthy's treatment of Henry Dexter White, who Joe McCarthy had recently accused of being a communist spy. Murrow was now accused of being part of the "Moscow conspiracy" and it was suggested that as "an anti-anti-Communist was as dangerous as a Communist".

In early 1954 Murrow and his producer, Fred Friendly, decided to devote an edition of See It Now to McCarthyism. CBS was unhappy with the idea and had been one of those television companies that had been part of the blacklist to prevent people named by Joe McCarthy from being employed in the industry. The CBS introduced its own "loyalty oath" contract and sacked some workers because they had previously been members of the Communist Party. CBS and the sponsor of the programme refused to publicize the proposed McCarthy programme, and as a result, Murrow and Friendly decided to use $1,500 their own money to pay for ads in the newspapers.

On 9th March, 1954, Murrow's See It Now programme, dealt with McCarthyism. During the broadcast Murrow commented: "The line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep into our own history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthty's methods to keep silent. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result."

The day after the programme CBS announced that 12,348 people phoned in comments about the programme, and the opinions went fifteen-to-one in Murrow's favor. The sponsors also reported receiving over 4,000 letters, with the vast majority supporting Murrow's stance. The New York Herald Tribune, a Republican newspaper, said Murrow had presented "a sober and realistic appraisal of McCarthyism and the climate in which it flourishes." Jack Gould, television critic for The New York Times, called the broadcast "crusading journalism of high responsibility and genuine courage", an "incisive visual autopsy of the Senator's record'. However, Jack O'Brian, radio-TV columnist for Hearst's right-wing New York Journal-American, labelled the broadcast a "smear".

When Joe McCarthy was asked what he thought of the programme he replied: "I never listen to the extreme left-wing, bleeding heart elements of radio and TV." Several times over the next few days he attacked Murrow. He claimed that Murrow had "sponsored a communist school in Moscow" and "acted for the Russian espionage and propaganda organization known as VOKS, a job which would normally be done by the Russian secret police." He claimed that Murrow's friendship with Harold Laski, a leading figure in the British Labour Party, was an example of his pro-Communist sympathies.

The persecution of those opposed to McCarthyism continued. When the See It Now programme ended on 9th March, Don Hollenbeck, came on the air with the regular 11.00 p.m. news and said: "I want to associate myself with every word just spoken by Ed Murrow." Hollenbeck was denounced in the pro-McCarthy press as a communist. After three months of smears, Hollenbeck, unable to take the strain, committed suicide.

McCarthy's downfall came as a result of the televised senate investigations into the United States Army. One newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, reported that: "In this long, degrading travesty of the democratic process McCarthy has shown himself to be evil and unmatched in malice." Leading politicians in both parties, had been embarrassed by McCarthy's performance and on 2nd December, 1954, a censure motion condemned his conduct by 67 votes to 22.

In the late 1950s Murrow became disillusioned with television broadcasting. He disagreed with the emphasis being placed on producing entertainment-based programmes. Murrow left broadcasting in 1961 and joined the United States Information Agency (USIA). However, suffering from lung cancer, he was forced him to resign in 1964. The cancer spread to the brain and Edward Murrow died at Glen Arden, on 27th April, 1965.

Thousands of people are standing in Whitehall and lining Downing Street, waiting to greet the Prime Minister upon his return from Munich. Others say that he should be the next recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

International experts in London agree that Herr Hitler has scored one of the greatest diplomatic triumphs in modern history. The average Englishman, who really received his first official information concerning the crisis from Mr. Chamberlain's speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday, is relieved and grateful. Men who predicted the crisis and the lines it would follow long before it arrived did not entirely share that optimism and relief. One afternoon paper carried this headline: WORLD SHOWS


I have a feeling that Englishmen are a little proud of themselves tonight. They believe that their government's reply was pretty tough, that the Lion has turned and that the retreat from Manchukuo, Abyssinia, Spain and Czechoslovakia and Austria has stopped. They are amazingly calm; they still employ understatement, and they are inclined to discuss the prospects of war with, oh, a casual "bad show", or, "If this is peace, give me a good war." I have heard no one say as many said last September, "I hope Mr. Chamberlain can find a way out."

There is not much thinking going on over here. People seem to revert to habit in times like this. Nothing seems to shake them. They lose the ability to feel. For instance, we had pictures in today's papers, pictures of school children carrying out a test evacuation. For them it was an adventure. We saw pictures of them tying on each other's identification tags, and they trooped out of the school building as though they were going to a picnic, and for them it was an adventure.

There is a feeling here that if Hitler does not back down, he will probably move against the Poles - not the French and British in the first instance. Then the decision must be made here and in France, and a terrible decision it will be. I will put it to you with the brutal frankness with which it was put to me by a British politician this afternoon: "Are we to be the first to bomb women and children?"

The military timetable has certainly been drawn up, but so far as we know in London the train for an unknown destination hasn't started. Within the last two hours, I have talked to men who have a certain amount of first-hand information as to the state of mind in Whitehall, and I may tell you that they see little chance of preserving peace. They feel that Herr Hitler may modify the demands, that the Italians may counsel against war, but they don't see a great deal of hope. And there the matter stands, and there it may stand until Parliament meets tomorrow in that small, ill-ventilated room where so many decisions have been made. I shall be there to report it to you.

Well, if it is to be war, how will it end? That is a question Englishmen are asking. And for what will it be fought, and what will be the position of the U.S.? Of course, that is a matter for you to decide, and you will reach your own conclusions in the light of more information than is available in any other country, and I am not going to talk about it. But I do venture to suggest that you watch carefully these moves during the next few days, that you further sift the evidence, for what you will decide will be important, and there is more than enough evidence that the machinery to influence your thinking and your decisions has already been set up in many countries.

And now, the last word that has reached London concerning tonight's developments is that at the British Embassy in Berlin all the luggage of the personnel and staff has been piled up in the hall, and it is remarked here that the most prominent article in the heavy luggage was a folded umbrella, given pride of placement amongst all the other pieces of baggage.

Some people have told me tonight that they believe a big deal is being cooked up which will make Munich and the betrayal of Czechoslovakia look like a pleasant tea party. And it would be equally surprising to see any settlement achieved through the mediation of Mussolini produce anything other than a temporary relaxation of the tension.

Most observers here agree that this country is not in the mood to accept a temporary solution. And that's why I believe that Britain in the end of the day will stand where she is pledged to stand, by the side of Poland in a war that is now in progress. Failure to do so might produce results in this country, the end of which cannot be foreseen. Anyone who knows this little island will agree that things happen slowly here; most of you will agree that the British during the past few weeks have done everything possible in order to put the record straight. When historians come to sum up the last six months of Europe's existence, when they come to write the story of the origins of the war, or of the collapse of democracy, they will have many documents from which to work. As I said, I have no way of ascertaining the real reason for the delay, nor am I impatient for the outbreak of war.

What exactly determined the government's decision is yet to be learned. What prospects of peaceful solution the government may see is to me a mystery. You know their record. You know what action they've taken in the past, but on this occasion the little man in the bowler hat, the clerks, the bus drivers, and all the others who make up the so-called rank and file would be reckoned with. They seem to believe that they have been patient, that they have suffered insult and injury, and they certainly believe that this time they are going to solve this matter in some sort of permanent fashion. Don't think for a moment that these people here aren't conscious of what's going on, aren't sensitive to the suspicions which the delay of their government has aroused. They're a patient people, and they're perhaps prepared to wait until tomorrow for the definite word. If that word means war, the delay was not likely to have decreased the intensity or the effectiveness of Britain's effort. If it is peace, with the price being paid by Poland, this government will have to deal with the passion it has aroused during the past few weeks. If it's a five-power conference, well, we shall see.

The Prime Minister today was almost apologetic. He's a politician; he sensed the temper of the House and of the country. I have been able to find no sense of relief amongst the people with whom I've talked. On the contrary, the general attitude seems to be, "We are ready, let's quit this stalling and get on with it." As a result, I think that we'll have a decision before this time tomorrow. On the evidence produced so far, it would seem that that decision will be war. But those of us who've watched this story unroll at close range have lost the ability to be surprised.

History has been made too fast over here today. First, in the early hours this morning, came the news of the British unopposed landing in Iceland. Then the news of Hitler's triple invasion came rolling into London, climaxed by the German air bombing of five nations. British mechanized troops rattled across the frontier into Belgium. Then at nine o'clock tonight a tired old man spoke to the nation from No. 10 Downing Street. He sat behind a big oval table in the Cabinet Room where so many fateful decisions have been taken during the three years that he has directed the policy of His Majesty's government. Neville Chamberlain announced his resignation.

Winston Churchill, who has held more political offices than any living man, is now Prime Minister. But if he brings victory, his place in history is assured.

The historians will have to devote more than a footnote to this remarkable man no matter what happens. He enters office with the tremendous advantage of being the man who was right. He also has the advantage of being the best broadcaster in this country. Churchill can inspire confidence. And he can preach a doctrine of hate that is acceptable to the majority of this country. That may be useful during these next few months. Hitler has said that the action begun today will settle the future of Germany for a thousand years. Churchill doesn't deal in such periods of time, but the decisions reached by this new prime minister with his boyish grin and his puckish sense of humour may well determine the outcome of this war.

The battle around Dunkirk is still raging. The city itself is held by marines and covered by naval guns. The British Expeditionary Force has continued to fall back toward the coast and part of it, included wounded and those not immediately engaged, has been evacuated by sea. Certain units, the strength of which is naturally not stated, are back in England.

On the home front, new defence measures are being announced almost hourly. Any newspaper opposing the prosecution of the war can now be suppressed. Neutral vessels arriving in British ports are being carefully searched for concealed troops. Refugees arriving from the Continent are being closely questioned in an effort to weed out spies. More restrictions on home consumption and increased taxation are expected. Signposts are being taken down on the roads that might be used by German forces invading this country. Upon hearing about the signposts, an English friend of mine remarked, "That's going to make a fine shumuzzle. The Germans drive on the right and we drive on the left. There'll be a jolly old mix-up on the roads if the Germans do come."

One of the afternoon papers finds space to print a cartoon showing an elderly aristocratic Englishman, dressed in his anti-parachute uniform, saying to his servant, who holds a double-barrel shotgun, "Come along, Thompson. I shall want you to load for me." The Londoners are doing their best to preserve their sense of humour, but I saw more grave solemn faces today than I have ever seen in London before.

Fashionable tearooms were almost deserted; the shops in Bond Street were doing very little business; people read their newspapers as they walked slowly along the streets. Even the newsreel theatres were nearly empty. I saw one woman standing in line waiting for a bus begin to cry, very quietly. She didn't even bother to wipe the tears away. In Regent Street there was a sandwich man. His sign in big red letters had only three words on it: WATCH AND PRAY.

We are told today that most of the British Expeditionary Force is home from Flanders. There are no official figures of the number saved, but the unofficial estimates claim that as much as two thirds or perhaps four fifths of the force has been saved. It is claimed here that not more than one British division remains in the Dunkirk area. It may be that these estimates are unduly optimistic, but it's certainly true that a week ago few people believed that the evacuation could have been carried out so successfully.

There is a tendency on the part of some writers in the Sunday press to call the withdrawal a victory, and there will be disagreement on that point. But the least that can be said is that the Navy, Army and Air Force gilded defeat with glory. Military experts here agree that the operation has been the most successful in British military history. The withdrawal from Gallipoli during the last war does not compare with the removal of these troops from the pocket in northern France. The Gallipoli withdrawal was done in secrecy. There was no threat of air attacks. The action was spread over twenty-one nights. One hundred and twenty thousand men were removed at that time. During this Operation it is reliably reported that a considerably larger number was taken off in five days under incessant bombing and during the last two clays under long-range German artillery fire.

I spent five hours this afternoon on the outskirts of London. Bombs fell out there today. It is indeed surprising how little damage a bomb will do unless, of course, it scores a direct hit. But I found that one bombed house looks pretty much like another bombed house. It's about the people I'd like to talk, the little people who live in those little houses, who have no uniforms and get no decorations for bravery. Those men whose only uniform was a tin hat were digging unexploded bombs out of the ground this afternoon. There were two women who gossiped across the narrow strip of tired brown grass that separated their two houses. They didn't have to open their kitchen windows in order to converse. The glass had been blown out. There was a little man with a pipe in his mouth who walked up and looked at a bombed house and said, "One fell there and that's all." Those people were calm and courageous. About an hour after the all clear had sounded, people were sitting in deck chairs on their lawns, reading the Sunday papers. The girls in light, cheap dresses were strolling along the streets. There was no bravado, no loud voices, only a quiet acceptance of the situation. To me those people were incredibly brave and calm. They are the unknown heroes of this war.

For three hours after the night attack got going, I shivered in a sandbag crow's-nest atop a tall building near the Thames. It was one of the many fire-observation posts. There was an old gun barrel mounted above a round table marked off like a compass. A stock of incendiaries bounced off rooftops about three miles away. The observer took a sight on a point where the first one fell, swung his gun sight along the line of bombs and took another reading at the end of the line of fire. Then he picked up his telephone and shouted above the half gale that was blowing up there, "Stick of incendiaries - between 190 and 220 - about three miles away."

Five minutes later, a German bomber came boring down the river. We could see his exhaust trail like a pale ribbon stretched straight across the sky. Half a mile downstream there were two eruptions and then a third, close together. The first two looked like some giant had thrown a huge basket of flaming golden oranges high in the air. The third was just a balloon of fire enclosed in black smoke above the housetops. The observer didn't bother with his gun sight and indicator for that one. Just reached for his night glasses, took one quick look, picked up his telephone, and said, "Two high explosives and one oil bomb," and named the street where they had fallen.

There was a small fire going off to our left. Suddenly sparks showered up from it as though someone had punched the middle of a huge campfire with a tree trunk. Again the gun sight swung around, the bearing was read, and the report went down the telephone lines: "There is something in high explosives on that fire at 59."

There was peace and quiet inside for twenty minutes. Then a shower of incendiaries came down far in the distance. They didn't fall in a line. It looked like flashes from an electric train on a wet night, only the engineer was drunk and driving his train in circles through the streets. One sight at the middle of the flashes and our observer reported laconically, "Breadbasket at go - covers a couple of miles." Half an hour later a string of fire bombs fell right beside the Thames. Their white glare was reflected in the black, lazy water near the banks and faded out in midstream where the moon cut a golden swathe broken only by the arches of famous bridges.

We could see little men shovelling those fire bombs into the river. No one bothers about the white light; it's only when it turns yellow that a real fire has started.

I must have seen well over a hundred fire bombs come down and only three small fires were started. As I watched those white fires flame up and die down, watched the yellow blazes grow dull and disappear, I thought what a puny effort is this to burn a great city.

Finally we went below to a big room underground. It was quiet. Women spoke softly into telephones. There was a big map of London on the wall. Little coloured pins were being moved from one point to another and every time a pin was moved it meant that fire pumps were on their way through the black streets of London to a fire. One district had asked for reinforcements from another, just as an army reinforces its front lines in the sector bearing the brunt of the attack. On another map all the observation posts, like the one I just left, were marked. There was a string with a pin at the end of it dangling from each post position; a circle around each post bore the same markings as I had seen on the tables beneath the gun sight up above. As the reports came in, the string was stretched out over the reported bearing and the pin at the end stuck in the map. Another report came in, and still another, and each time a string was stretched. At one point all those strings crossed and there, checked by a half-dozen cross bearings from different points, was a fire. Watching that system work gave me one of the strangest sensations of the war. For I have seen a similar system used to find the exact location of forest fires out on the Pacific coast.

The Prime Minister brought all his oratorical power to the appeal for aid to the Soviet Union, which he has always hated - and still does. His plea was based on a combination of humanitarian principle and national self-interest. What he implied was that the Russians, after all, are human but the Germans aren't. Russia's danger, he said, is our danger. And he believed that the German plan was to destroy Russia in the shortest possible time and then throw her full weight against Britain in an attempt to crush this island before winter comes. And, reaffirming Britain's determination to destroy the Nazi regime, the Prime Minister promised that there would be no parley and no contract with Hitler and his gang. Any man or state who fights Nazidom will have our help, he said.

The announced policy of His Majesty's Government is to give the Russians all possible technical and economic assistance. Churchill said nothing about military aid, other than to reaffirm Britain's intention of bombing Germany on an ever-increasing scale. There is no suggestion in London that any direct military aid can, or will, be supplied. It is worth noting that the Prime Minister said nothing about the fighting qualities of the Russian Army and gave no optimistic forecast about the duration of this new German campaign.

A few days ago, Mr. Churchill in a broadcast to the States used the sentence: "But time is short." If Russia is beaten quickly and decisively, time will be much shorter.

Berlin was a kind of orchestrated hell, a terrible symphony of light and flame. Yesterday afternoon, when the tapes were stretched out on the big map all the way to Berlin and back again, a young pilot with old eyes said to me, "I see we're working again tonight." That's the frame of mind in which the job is being done. This is a calculated, remorseless campaign of destruction.

I shall try to say something about V-2, the German rockets that have fallen on several widely scattered points in England. For some weeks those of us who had known what was happening had been referring to these explosions, clearly audible over a distance of fifteen miles, as "those exploding gas mains". Churchill told the House of Commons, the scale and the effects of the attack have not hitherto been significant.

That is, of course, no guarantee that they will not become so. Most people who have experienced war have been saved repeatedly by either seeing or hearing; neither sense provides warning or protection against this new weapon.

These are days when a vivid imagination is a definite liability. There is nothing pleasant in contemplating the possibility, however remote, that a ton of high explosive may come through the roof with absolutely no warning of any kind. The penetration of these rockets is considerably greater than that of the flying bomb, but the lateral blast effect is less. There are good reasons for believing that the Germans are developing a rocket which may contain as much as eight tons of explosives. That would be eight times the size of the present rocket, and, in the opinion of most people over here, definitely unpleasant. These rockets have not been arriving in any considerable quantity, and they have not noticeably affected the nerves or the determination of British civilians. But it would be a mistake to make light of this new form of bombardment. Its potentialities arc largely unknown. German science has again demonstrated a malignant ingenuity which is not likely to be forgotten when it comes time to establish controls over German scientific and industrial research. For the time being, those of you who may have family or friends in these "widely scattered spots in England" need not be greatly alarmed about the risks to which they are exposed.

As I walked down to the end of the barracks, there was applause from the men too weak to get out of bed. It sounded like the hand clapping of babies; they were so weak.

As we walked out into the courtyard, a man fell dead. I saw it but will not describe it.

We went to the hospital; it was full. The doctor told me that two hundred had died the day before. I asked the cause of death; he shrugged and said, "Tuberculosis, starvation, fatigue, and there are many who have no desire to live."

Professor Richer said perhaps I would care to see the small courtyard. I said yes. He turned and told the children to stay behind. As we walked across the square I noticed that the professor had a hole in his left shoe and a toe sticking out of the right one. He followed my eyes and said, "I regret that I am so little presentable, but what can one do?" At that point another Frenchman came up to announce that three of his fellow countrymen outside had killed three S.S. men and taken one prisoner.

We proceeded to the small courtyard. They were thin and very white. Some of the bodies were terribly bruised, though there seemed to be little flesh to bruise. Some had been shot through the head, but they bled but little. All except two were naked. I tried to count them as best I could and arrived at the conclusion that all that was mortal of more than five hundred men and boys lay there in two neat piles.

It appeared that most of the men and boys had died of starvation; they had not been executed. Where are they now?

As I left the camp, a Frenchman came up to me and said, "You will write something about this, perhaps?" And he added, "To write about this you must have been here at least two years, and after that - you don't want to write any more."

I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald. If I've offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I'm not in the least sorry.

I suppose that anyone can pose as an expert if he's far enough from home. I've been home for a little more than a week and haven't really seen anything except Washington and New York. But there has been time for a lot of reading and much listening and an astonishing amount of eating. The impressions created by this country at peace are so strong that I want to talk about them. It'll probably be old stuff to you, but it is at least possible that one who has spent a few years abroad, wondering what was happening in his own country, often longing to be there, might see or sense something that you have come to regard as commonplace. During the last few years I have tried to talk from various places in the world about something that was to me interesting and perhaps important. What is happening in America now is of tremendous importance to the rest of the world, and there's nothing that interests me more. So, with full knowledge that the impressions are superficial and may be mistaken, I should like - to use one of Mr. Churchill's favourite words - to "descant" for a few minutes upon the American scene.

You all look very, very healthy. You're not as tired as Europeans, and your clothes - well, it seemed to me for the first few days that everyone must be going to a party. The colour, the variety and, above everything else, the cleanliness of the clothing is most impressive. And what can be said about the food? The other morning, flying from Washington to New York, the hostess asked if I would care for breakfast. She brought fruit juice, scrambled eggs, bacon, rolls and coffee and cream and sugar. That meal in Paris would have cost about ten dollars; it would have been unobtainable in London.

I have been reading a thoughtful magazine article by a friend of mine, John Chamberlain. He deals with an event which affected the lives of all of us - the attack at Pearl Harbor and the events that led up to it. He concludes that valuable lessons can be learned as the result of a thorough-going investigation. That is probably true, for the people have a right to know what was done in their name. But Mr. Chamberlain states, "To say that we were slugged without warning is a radical distortion of the truth. Roosevelt, the chief executive of the nation and the commander-in-chief of its Army and Navy, knew in advance that the Japanese were going to attack us and," he adds, "there is even grounds for suspicion that he elected to bring the crisis to a head, when it came." And - Mr. Chamberlain continues, "More than fifteen hours before Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt and the members of the Washington high command knew that the Japanese envoys were going to break with the United States the next clay. The only thing they did not know was the precise point of the military attack."

These are serious charges and, presumably, will be investigated in due course. I should like to make some comment upon them. I dined at the White House on that Pearl Harbor Sunday evening. The President did not appear for dinner but sent word down that I was to wait. He required some information about Britain and the blitz, from which I had just returned. I waited. There was a steady stream of visitors - cabinet members and Senate leaders. In the course of the evening I had some opportunity to exchange a few words with Harry Hopkins and two or three cabinet members when they emerged from conference. There was ample opportunity to observe at close range the bearing and expression of Mr. [Henry L.] Stimson, Colonel [Frank] Knox, and Secretary [Cordell] Hull [secretaries of Army, Navy and State]. If they were not surprised by the news from Pearl Harbor, then that group of elderly men were putting on a performance which would have excited the admiration of any experienced actor. I cannot believe that their expressions, bearing and conversation were designed merely to impress one correspondent who was sitting outside in the hallway. It may be that the degree of the disaster had appalled them and that they had known for some time, as Mr. Chamberlain asserts, that Japan would attack, but I could not believe it then and I cannot do so now. There was amazement and anger written large on most of the faces.

Some time after midnight - it must have been nearly one in the morning - the President sent for me. I have seen certain statesmen of the world in time of crisis. Never have I seen one so calm and steady. He was completely relaxed. He told me much of the day's events, asked questions about how the people of Britain were standing up to their ordeal, inquired after the health of certain mutual friends in London. In talking about Pearl Harbor he was as much concerned about the aircraft lost on the ground as about the ships destroyed or damaged.

Just before I left, the President said, "Did this surprise you?" I replied, "Yes, Mr. President." And his answer was, "Maybe you think it didn't surprise us!" I believed him. He had told me enough of the day's disaster to know that there was no possibility of my writing a line about that interview till the war was over. I have ventured to recount part of that interview now because it seems to me to be, relevant to a current controversy.

I want to talk for a few minutes about the Hollywood investigation now being conducted in Washington. This reporter approaches the matter with rather fresh memories of friends in Austria, Germany and Italy who either died or went into exile because they refused to admit the right of their government to determine what they should say, read, write or think. (If witnessing the disappearance of individual liberty abroad causes a reporter to be unduly sensitive to even the faintest threat of it in his own country, then my analysis of what is happening in Washington may be out of focus.) This is certainly no occasion for a defence of the product of Hollywood. Much of that product fails to invigorate me, but I am not obliged to view it. No more is this an effort to condemn congressional investigating committees. Such committees are a necessary part of our system of government and have performed in the past the double function of illuminating certain abuses and of informing congressmen regarding expert opinion on important legislation under consideration. In general, however, congressional committees have concerned themselves with what individuals, organizations or corporations have or have not done, rather than with what individuals think. It has always seemed to this reporter that movies should be judged by what appears upon the screen, newspapers by what appears in print and radio by what comes out of the loudspeaker. The personal beliefs of the individuals involved would not seem to be a legitimate field for inquiry, either by government or by individuals. When bankers, or oil or railroad men, are hailed before a congressional committee, it is not customary to question them about their beliefs or the beliefs of men employed by them. When a soldier is brought before a court martial he is confronted with witnesses, entitled to counsel and to cross-questioning. His reputation as a soldier, his prospects of future employment, cannot be taken from him unless a verdict is reached under clearly established military law.

It is, I suppose, possible that the committee now sitting may uncover some startling and significant information. But we are here concerned only with what has happened to date. A certain number of people have been accused either of being Communists or of following the Communist line. Their accusers are safe from the laws of slander and libel. Subsequent denials are unlikely ever to catch up with the original allegation. It is to be expected that this investigation will induce increased timidity in an industry not renowned in the past for its boldness in portraying the significant social, economic and political problems confronting this nation. For example, Willie Wyler, who is no alarmist, said yesterday that he would not now be permitted to make The Best Years of Our Lives in the way in which he made it more than a year ago.

Considerable mention was made at the hearings of two films, Mission to Moscow and Song of Russia. I am no movie critic, but I remember what was happening in the war when those films were released. While you were looking at Mission to Moscow there was heavy fighting in Tunisia. American and French forces were being driven back; Stalin said the opening of the Second Front was near; there was heavy fighting in the Solomons and New Guinea; MacArthur warned that the Japanese were threatening Australia; General Hershey announced that fathers would be called up in the draft; Wendell Willkie's book One World was published. And when Song of Russia was released, there was heavy fighting at Cassino and Anzio; the battleship Missouri was launched, and the Russian newspaper Pravda published, and then retracted, an article saying that the Germans and the British were holding peace talks. And during all this time there were people in high places in London and Washington who feared lest the Russians might make a separate peace with Germany. If these pictures, at that time and in that climate, were subversive, then what comes next under the scrutiny of a congressional committee?

Correspondents who wrote and broadcast that the Russians were fighting well and suffering appalling losses? If we follow the parallel, the networks and the newspapers which carried those dispatches would likewise be investigated.

Certain government agencies, such as the State Department and the Atomic Energy Commission, are confronted with a real dilemma. They are obligated to maintain security without doing violence to the essential liberties of the citizens who work for them. That may require special and defensible security measures. But no such problem arises with instruments of mass communication. In that area there would seem to be two alternatives: either we believe in the intelligence, good judgment, balance and native shrewdness of the American people, or we believe that government should investigate, intimidate and finally legislate. The choice is as simple as that.

The right of dissent - or, if you prefer, the right to be wrong - is surely fundamental to the existence of a democratic society. That's the right that went first in every nation that stumbled down the trail toward totalitarianism.

I would like to suggest to you that the present search for Communists is in no real sense parallel to the one that took place after the First World War. That, as we know, was a passing phenomenon. Those here who then adhered to Communist doctrine could not look anywhere in the world and find a strong, stable, expanding body of power based on the same principles that they professed. Now the situation is different, so it may be assumed that this internal tension, suspicion, witch hunting, grade labeling - call it what you like - will continue. It may well cause a lot of us to dig deep into both our history and our convictions to determine just how firmly we hold to the principles we were taught and accepted so readily, and which made this country a haven for men who sought refuge. And while we're discussing this matter, we might remember a little-known quotation from Adolf Hitler, spoken in Konigsberg before he achieved power. He said, "The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it will force those who fear it to imitate it."

This reporter would attempt to say a few words about an old friend. They say he committed suicide. I don't know. Jan Masaryk was a man of great faith and great courage. Under certain circumstances he would be capable of laying down his life with a grin and a wisecrack. For more than two years he had hidden a heavy heart behind that big smile and his casual, sometimes irreverent, often caustic comment on world affairs. I knew Jan Masaryk well before, during and after the war. I say that, not in any effort to gain stature in your eyes, but rather as a necessary preface to what follows. I sat with him all night in his London embassy the night his country was sacrificed on the altar of appeasement at Munich. He knew it meant war, knew that his country and its people were doomed. But there was no bitterness in the man, nor was there resignation or defeat.

We talked long of what must happen in Europe, of the young men that would die and the cities that would be smashed to rubble. But Jan Masaryk's faith was steady. As I rose to leave, the grey dawn pressed against the windows. Jan pointed to a big picture of Hitler and Mussolini that stood on the mantle and said, "Don't worry, Ed. There will be dark days, and many men will die, but there is a God, and He will not let two such men rule Europe." He had faith, and he was a patriot, and he was an excellent cook. One night during the blitz he was preparing a meal in his little apartment. A bomb came down in the middle distance and rocked the building. Jan emerged from the kitchen to remark, "Uncivilized swine, the Germans. They have ruined my souffle."

I once asked him what his war aim was, and he replied, "I want to go home." He always knew that in a world where there is no security for little nations there is neither peace nor security for big nations. After the Munich betrayal, the British made a conscience loan to Czechoslovakia. Benes and Masaryk used a considerable part of the money to set up an underground news service. It was functioning when the Germans overran the country, and all during the war those two men were the best informed in London on matters having to do with Middle Europe. They had information out of Prague in a matter of hours from under the noses of the Germans. Jan Masaryk took to the radio, talking to his people, telling them that there was hope in the West, that Czechs and Slovaks would again walk that fair land as free men. When the war was over he went home. Certain that his country had to get along with the Russians or, as he used to say, `they will cat us up,' his faith in democracy was in no way diminished. He became foreign minister in a coalition government. As the Communist strength increased, Jan saw less and less of his friends when he came to this country. His music gave him no comfort; no more were there those happy late night hours with Masaryk playing the piano, hours of rich, rolling Czech and Slovak folk songs. I asked him why he didn't get out, come to this country where he had so many friends. He replied, "Do you think I enjoy what I am doing? But my heart is with my people. I must do what I can. Maybe a corpse but not a refugee."

Did he make a mistake in this last crisis? I do not know. He stayed with Benes. Who knows what pressures he was subjected to? It is unlikely that he could have altered the course of events. Perhaps it was in his mind that he could save some of his friends, some small part of liberty and freedom, by staying on as non-party foreign minister. I talked to him on the telephone on the third day of the crisis, before the Communists had taken over. He thought then that Benes would dissolve parliament, call a national election, and the Communist strength would decrease. It would appear that the Communists moved too fast.

Did the course of events during the last two weeks cause Masaryk to despair and take his life, or was he murdered? This is idle speculation. Both are possible. But somehow this reporter finds it difficult to imagine him flinging himself from a third-floor window, which, as I remember and as the news agencies confirm, is no more than thirty-five or forty feet above the flagged courtyard. A gun, perhaps poison or a leap from a greater height would have been more convincing. It may be, of course, that Jan Masaryk made the only gesture for freedom that he was free to make. Whichever way it was, his name with that of his father will be one to lift the hearts of men who seek to achieve or retain liberty and justice.

And now let's examine the case of Mr. Leo Isaacson and his passport. First, the facts. Isaacson was recently elected to the House of Representatives from the Bronx. He was the candidate of the American Labour Party. He had the support of Mr. Henry Wallace. There have been no charges of corruption, intimidation or coercion in connection with the election. Representative Isaacson applied to the State Department for a passport. He said he planned to attend a conference on aid to Greece to be held in Paris. The State Department refused to issue the passport. A spokesman for the department said the conference will include members of committees which have been organized in most Eastern European countries for the purpose of furnishing material and moral assistance to the guerrilla forces in Greece. The spokesman recalled that the United Nations General Assembly had passed a resolution calling on Greece's northern neighbours to do nothing to assist the guerrilla forces. Our own government is assisting the government of Greece to maintain its sovereignty against attack from guerrilla forces. And so the State Department concluded that the issuance of a passport for Mr. Isaacson would not be in the interest of the government of the United States. Isaacson renewed his request for a passport and was again refused by Acting Secretary of State Lovett, again on the grounds that Isaacson's presence at the Paris conference would not be in the best interest of this country.

This is the first time a member of Congress has ever been denied a passport by our State Department. Isaacson has accepted the decision as final but says it is an example of the book-burning mentality which now controls our government. He further claims that the department is limiting what information he may gather and where he may go as a congressman in search of facts. Now, under the law, any American citizen may apply for a passport to any country, but the decision as to whether it will be issued is solely within the power of the Secretary of State. The secretary can refuse to issue a passport, and under the law he is not required to state his reasons. So there is no question that under the existing law the Department of State acted in a wholly legal manner in refusing to give Mr. Isaacson his passport. Generally the issuance of a passport is a purely routine matter, but in this case it was denied on the grounds that Mr. Isaacson's presence at the Paris meeting would not serve the interests of this country. This position has received editorial support from The New York Times, which has stated, "No citizen is entitled to go abroad to oppose the policies and the interests of his country." The case of Mr. Isaacson and his passport has not aroused any considerable controversy in Congress or in the press. Those are the facts of the case.

This reporter would like to suggest a few considerations that are relevant to it. Isaacson is a follower of Henry Wallace. Had he been permitted to go to Paris, he might well have been expected to make speeches critical of American policy, similar to those made by Mr. Wallace on his European trip. However, the thesis that no citizen is entitled to go abroad to oppose the policies of his own country can be expanded. By denying him a passport, he can be prevented from expressing those views in person. But should he likewise be prevented from expressing them in print or on the air? For example, should the Voice of America in its broadcast to Europe report that there is complete unity in this country in support of our foreign policy? If it does so, it would not be telling the truth, and confidence in the honesty of our statements would be reduced. Also, are we to ban the export of publications containing material critical of our foreign policy?

Another question is raised by this decision. It is this: Should a government department be given sole power to determine who shall be free to travel abroad? If it is deemed to be in the best interest of this country to prevent those who oppose our foreign policy from going abroad, would it not be better to pass a law? For the only protection an individual has against other individuals or against the State is law, duly passed by his elective representatives and tested in the courts.

It would be possible to exhaust all the adjectives in the book in an effort to describe what happened yesterday - why it happened and what consequences may be expected to flow from the decision freely taken by the American people. For weeks and months, both the analysts and apologists will be busy examining the labour vote, the farm vote, the size of the total vote and the strategy of the two major parties. There will be many explanations-much second guessing, considerable sympathy for those whose high hopes of office and honours have been frustrated.

Not much of this outpouring will be significant, except insofar as it may serve to guide the conduct of future political campaigns.

I do not pretend to know why the people voted as they did, for the people are mysterious and their motives are not to be measured. This election result has freed us to a certain extent from the tyranny of those who tell us what we think, believe and will do without consulting us. No one, at this moment, can say with certainty why the Republicans lost or why the Democrats won. Certainly the Republicans did not lose for the lack of skilful, experienced, indeed, professional politicians. They did not lose for lack of money or energy. They lost because the people decided, in their wisdom or their folly, that they did not desire the party and its candidates to govern this country for the next four years. Maybe they lost because, as some claim, their policy was based upon expediency, rather than principle, or because they refrained from striking shrewd blows at points where the Democrats were vulnerable; maybe it was the labour vote that did them in, or the fact that the farmers are prosperous, or that too many Republicans were made complacent and didn't vote because of the predictions of easy victory. I do not know, and I do not think it matters, for the people are sovereign, and they have decided.

It will be equally difficult - indeed, more difficult - to explain the Democratic victory. President Truman was beaten to the floor by his own party even before they nominated him, and he got up, dressed in the ill-fitting cape of Franklin Roosevelt. He was a man who seemed unimpressive to many even when they thought he was right. He waged what was, in effect, a one-man campaign. Just try to call to mind the nationally known names who stood with him in this campaign, and you'll realize what a lonely (some said ridiculous) effort it was. He was just doing the best he knew how and saying so, and whatever the reasons, the people went with him and gave him a House and a Senate to work with.

Let's examine some of the implications of the verdict. The men were indicted under the Smith Act, which was passed in 1940. It went through the Senate without a roll call, and only four votes were registered against it in the House. The verdict in judge Medina's court will be tested before the Supreme Court, and that body will have to try to determine the constitutional limitations that may be placed upon advocacy of change through violence.

There are some things that can be concluded from the verdict: If you conspire, as these men were convicted of conspiring, then you face a prison sentence and possible fine. The verdict means that there will be a determined campaign by the Communists to try to sell to the country the issues that were lost in the trial. It means that the eleven Communist leaders aren't going to be available to direct the affairs of the party for some time. The question arises as to whether the men who replace them will also be guilty of breaking the law. They could not automatically be judged guilty by virtue of their membership or official position in the Communist Party. The government would have to produce evidence, witnesses, documents and bring them before a jury as they did in this case. The verdict undoubtedly means Russian propaganda efforts to discredit our system of justice. But the verdict proves that under that system of justice, the accused can get a nine months' trial, plus a jury to hear the case - even if they are, as Prosecutor McGohey stated, "professional revolutionists."

But there are some things that this verdict does not mean. It does not mean that membership in the Communist Party as such is illegal. The party is not outlawed. The verdict does not mean that you must read any specific books, talk as you will or peacefully assemble for any purpose other than to conspire to overthrow the government by force and violence. It does not mean that you are subject to legal action for saying things favourable to the Communist Party. Nothing in this verdict limits the citizen's right, by peaceful and lawful means, to advocate changes in the Constitution, to utter and publish praise of Russia, criticism of any of our political personalities or parties. You may, in short, engage in any action or agitation except that aimed at teaching or advocating the overthrow of the government by violence.

If this verdict is upheld by the Supreme Court, similar prosecutions may follow. But in each individual case it will be necessary for the government to prove, not only that the defendants were members of the Communist Party, but that they conspired to overthrow the government, and did so knowingly and wilfully.

One result of the verdict may be to convince a number of people that the Communists are not just another political party. But nevertheless the question of the control of subversion is one of the most important confronting this country.

This morning Alger Hiss was sentenced to five years in prison for perjury. This afternoon the drama moved to Washington, to Secretary of State Acheson's press conference. The question was: "Mr. Secretary, have you any comment on the Alger Hiss case?" Mr. Acheson replied in these words: "Mr. Hiss's case is before the courts, and I think it would be highly improper for me to discuss the legal aspects of the case, or the evidence, or anything to do with the case. I take it the purpose of your question was to bring something other than that out of me." And then Mr. Acheson said, "I should like to make it clear to you that whatever the outcome of any appeal which Mr. Hiss or his lawyers may take in this case, I do not intend to turn my back on Alger Hiss. I think every person who has known Alger Hiss, or has served with him at any time, has upon his conscience the very serious task of deciding what his attitude is, and what his conduct should be. That must be done by each person, in the light of his own standards and his own principles. For me," said Mr. Acheson, "there is very little doubt about those standards or those principles. I think they were stated for us a very long time ago. They were stated on the Mount of Olives, and if you are interested in seeing them, you will find them in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning at Verse 34."

We are reliably informed that Secretary Acheson knew the question was coming but had not discussed his answer with President Truman because he regarded it as a personal matter. When Mr. Acheson was up for confirmation before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was questioned about Alger Hiss, said he was his friend and added, "My friendship is not easily given, and not easily withdrawn." He proved that today.

No words of any broadcaster will add to, or detract from, General MacArthur's military stature. When the President relieved him of his commands at one o'clock this morning, a sort of emotional chain reaction began. It might be useful to examine some of the issues raised by this decision, for they are rather more important than the fate of a general, or a president, or a group of politicians.

Did the President have the constitutional power to fire General MacArthur? He did, without question; even the severest critics of his action admit this. One of the basic principles of our society is that the military shall be subject to civilian control. At the present time when, as a result of our rearmament programme, the military is exercising increasing influence and power in both domestic and international affairs, it is of some importance that that principle be maintained. It is a principle to which the over-whelming majority of professional soldiers subscribe.

There developed, over a period of months, a basic disagreement between General MacArthur on the one hand and the President, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department and our European allies on the other as to how the war in Korea should be conducted; and, more importantly, a disagreement as to how, and where, the forces of the free world should be deployed to meet the threat of world Communism. General MacArthur was sent certain instructions, and he ignored or failed to obey them. Those orders, wise or foolish, came from his superiors. We as private citizens are entitled to agree or disagree with the policy and the orders, but so far as military men are concerned, the Constitution is quite specific. It doesn't say that a President must be a Republican or a Democrat, or even that he must be wise. It says that he is the commander-in-chief. There occurred an open and public clash between civilian and military authority. It was dramatic, and it was prolonged over a period of almost four months. What hung in the balance was not MacArthur's reputation as a soldier, or Truman's as a statesman, but rather the principle of civilian control of the military men and forces of this country. The issue has now been resolved. It is, as many have remarked, a personal tragedy for General MacArthur at the climax of a brilliant military career. But these matters must be viewed in perspective. Tragedy has also overtaken about fifty-eight thousand young Americans in Korea, and for about ten thousand of them it was permanent - before their careers began.

That war is still going on. Is there any reason to believe that General MacArthur's removal will increase the prospects of ending it? Some diplomats are inclined to hope it will. They point to the fact that the Communists have labelled MacArthur the number one aggressor and warmonger. But there is nothing in Communist doctrine to indicate that their policies are determined by the personalities of opposing generals, nothing to hint their objectives do not remain what they were.

The team of Marshall and Lovett has been broken up. This combination served the nation in the Army, the State Department and the Department of Defence.

General Marshall has probably been talked over and at more than any living American. He was eulogized when he retired as Chief of Staff, again when he resigned as Secretary of State and now when he resigns from Defence. Probably no man in the last ten years has spent more time before Congressional committees. His record is too well known to merit repetition; and it may be safely assumed that he will not now engage, in full uniform, in parades, posturing and political polemics. He has served in the spotlight for a long time. The public has had repeated opportunity to weigh and measure him, and historians may conclude that his greatest contributions were made in peacetime rather than in war. General Marshall is a man who held himself erect, but with a loose rein - the most completely self-controlled man I have ever known, capable of sitting through a long speech or a committee hearing without moving a muscle, but at the same time there was no tension about him. He can reprimand the wandering and verbose informant by saying in a mild voice, "Would you mind repeating what you have just tried to say?" And he can now cultivate his garden in Leesburg, warmed in the autumn of his life by the respect and admiration of most of his fellow countrymen and the gratitude of millions of Europeans who were, by his vision and drive to action, saved from slavery.

Mr. Robert Lovett, his successor, has much of the General's quiet equanimity. He is an old hand at serving his government, with a built-in urge to get things done, having served as Assistant Secretary of War for Air, Undersecretary of State and Undersecretary of Defence. There is no doubt that his appointment will be confirmed by the Senate, and the small-calibre minds in Washington which delight in sniping at everyone who works for his country may well find Lovett as tough a target to hit as was Marshall.

The execution date for the condemned atom spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, will be set on Monday. Federal Judge Irving Kaufman said today he didn't believe anything can be accomplished in too long a delay, "except bringing upon the prisoners mental anguish by instilling false hopes in them." Counsel for the Rosenbergs asked that the executions be delayed for a month or two. The judge said he had been harassed more than ever by various groups since the President denied the Rosenbergs' appeal for clemency. He said, "It is as if a signal had been given. I have received many telephone calls and telegrams and letters."

Alexander Kendrick cables from Vienna that today the whole Communist world opened an unbridled attack on the Eisenhower Administration in connection with the Rosenberg case. All Communist newspapers and radio stations called for world-wide agitation from what they called "democratic forces". All satellite newspapers and all Communist papers in West Europe led their front pages with the President's rejection of the clemency plea. The Communist line was that the Eisenhower Administration had started its term with a "cold-blooded double murder". One Vienna Communist paper said that the Jelke vice trial here in New York was being deliberately staged by the Administration in order to detract attention from the Rosenberg case. All stories reported as a matter of fact that the Rosenbergs are innocent and were convicted on framed testimony.

In France, the Communist papers, of course, followed suit, but the conservative and non-Communist papers were also highly critical. One said, "The correctness of Eisenhower's decision may not be questioned, but its wisdom is something else again. We had all hoped for clemency that would demonstrate democratic justice tempered by mercy." Another highly influential non-Communist French paper, Le Monde, front-pages an editorial saying, "A measure of clemency would not have endangered American security. The execution will not frighten Communist fanatics, who consider they have a holy mission to perform. It will only give them an extra theme of propaganda to exploit."

Judge Kaufman was obviously correct; a signal has been given. Totalitarian states, whether Communist or Fascist, know how to create and make use of martyrs. The Russians are using the Rosenbergs as expendable weapons of political warfare. And the Rosenbergs, who have refused to talk, are apparently still willing instruments of the conspiracy they once served. There has been no responsible claim here that the two defendants have not received every consideration and every opportunity provided under American law. No new evidence has been produced since their conviction.

Most people familiar with Communist tactics of political warfare would probably agree that the Rosenbergs dead will be of more use to the Russians than they would be alive. Dead they can be made a symbol; alive they might one day talk. But it seems to this reporter that there is here involved something more important than a small skirmish in propaganda warfare. There is a law - it provides certain penalties. There was a trial, complete and open, conducted under the law. A verdict was reached by a jury. A sentence was imposed. And, as President Eisenhower concluded in one of the best written statements to come from the White House in a long time, he "feels it his duty in the interests of the people of the United States not to set aside the verdict of their representatives." This case will - already has - damaged us abroad. But a departure from that principle might damage us fatally.

Senator McCarthy's committee is investigating alleged waste and mismanagement in the Voice of America. Probably few citizens will doubt that this is a legitimate area for inquiry by a Senate committee, for the Voice of America is the principal instrument through which we tell our side of the story to the rest of the world. It speaks not only for senators but for all citizens. And it would undoubtedly be useful if more of us knew more of what the Voice is saying, and how it is being run. The evidence produced so far is not very illuminating, and certainly not conclusive. One employee asserts that his scripts were "watered down" by three employees whom he "believed to be friendly to the Communist cause."

Another employee of the Voice of America who was dismissed says that in her opinion the anti-Communist broadcasts aimed at France were as detrimental as could be to the welfare of our country. Another employee in the French section says, "It should be called the Voice of Moscow." Many broadcasts tended to discredit the United States and to favour the Communist cause. One employee alleged that her boss had asked her to join some sort of "free love, collectivist, Marxist group."

The Voice of America speaks on behalf of all of us. Like any big organization it probably has its share of dismissed or disgruntled employees. Moreover, there are no listener ratings behind the Iron Curtain, or in friendly nations to which the Voice broadcasts. The result is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell how effective the broadcasts are, or how many people listen to them. But if the committee is interested in content, in what is said, the evidence is readily available. The scripts are there in the files; in many cases recordings are available and can be listened to. The record of what has been said - how the news and information has been handled - is all there. It would seem to this reporter that the important thing about any broadcasting operation is what comes out of the loudspeaker. If that reflects disloyalty, or subversive intent, then it should be relatively easy to identify the individuals responsible for that content.

I am not suggesting that there are, or are not, disloyal persons either now or in the past employed by the Voice of America. I do not know, and the evidence produced by the committee so far is insufficient to warrant any conclusions on this score. And the evidence, by its very nature, may in the end leave the individual citizen confused and in doubt as to the reliability and effectiveness of the Voice of America. The important thing is the end product. The arguments, the personal jealousies, the differences in news judgments that are inevitably involved in the preparation of any broadcast arc of secondary importance.

This administration is making wide and apparently intelligent use of committees and study groups. It would be possible for a group of professional newsmen and information specialists to study the output of the Voice of America over a period of weeks or months and to make an informed report regarding the accuracy and reliability of the reports being broadcast. Evidence of distortion or of broadcasts prejudicial to the interests of this country could be uncovered, if it exists. Such a study of contents of the Voice of America programmes would either revalidate the credentials of the people who are now running this important operation, or it would result in producing sufficient evidence to warrant their replacement. In any event, we are all entitled to know more than we now know about what is being said in our name to the rest of the world.

No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices. If none of us ever read a book that was "dangerous", had a friend who was "different", or joined an organization that advocated "change", we would all be just the kind of people Joe McCarthy wants.

No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating. But the line between investigation and persecution is a very fine one, and the junior senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind as between the internal and the external threat of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular.

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom - what's left of it - but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his; he didn't create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves."

Mrs. Annie Lee Moss was suspended from her job with the Army Signal Corps in Washington because she was accused of being a "dues-paying, card-carrying Communist" in 1943. The charge was made by Mrs. Mary Markward, a former FBI counterspy who testified before the McCarthy committee that she had seen Mrs. Moss's name on a list of dues-paying Communists. Today, Senator McCarthy, who left the hearing early, told Mrs. Moss, "We had testimony that you are a Communist, and we are rather curious to know how people like yourself were shifted from waitress to the code room." Mrs. Moss then testified she did not work in the Signal Corps code room, had never been in a code room in her life. She said, "At no time have I ever been a member of the Communist Party, and I never saw a Communist card." She said she never subscribed to The Daily Worker and didn't know what Communism meant until 1948, five years after she was supposed to be a party member.

Committee Counsel Roy Cohn told the senators that the committee has evidence to corroborate that of Mrs. Mary Markward from another witness he did not name. At this point Democratic Senator McClellan, of Arkansas, objected. And Acting Chairman Mundt ordered Counsel Cohn's statement stricken from the record. Mundt explained that the "other witness" was now in contact with the FBI, and the committee would have to consider whether to release the name. McClellan objected again. He said, "That testimony shouldn't be revealed to the public until we have a chance to weigh it. If you cannot call a witness, you should not mention it." McClellan charged that Mrs. Moss was being tried by hearsay evidence, rumour and innuendo. And Democratic Senator Symington told her, "I believe you are telling the truth." Mrs. Moss replied, "I certainly am." And the Senator went on to say, "I believe in this country a person is innocent until proved guilty. I think it very important that evidence be presented along with implication of additional evidence." And he told the suspended Army Signal Corps employee, "If you are not taken back by the Army, come around and see me and I'll get you a job."

Yesterday, after Senator McCarthy had named Mr. Fisher as a member of an organization which he termed "the legal arm of the Communist Party", Army Counsel Joseph N. Welch, of whose law firm Fisher is a member, became highly emotional. He said, "Until this moment; Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or recklessness." He begged that "this lad be not assassinated further." He asked if the Senator had "no sense of decency".

Mr. Welch, a veteran of the courtroom, was near to tears because a young man whom he liked, knew, trusted and worked with had been attacked. It is safe to assume, I think, that had Mr. Welch never heard of Mr. Fisher, his emotion - his anger - would have been considerably less. It seems to this reporter that there is a widespread tendency on the part of all human beings to believe that because a thing happens to a stranger, or to someone far away, it doesn't happen at all. Someone once said something to the effect, "Do you consider it strange that I regard a cut upon my finger as more important than the death of thousands, if I be separated from those thousands by oceans and continents?" For most of us reality attaches only to those things that strike near home, and that is as true of a bomb as of an accusation. The human conscience becomes calloused. The muscles of moral indignation become flabby when those who are being damaged, either in their bodies or their reputations, are remote and unknown. Despite modern communications it is difficult to communicate over any considerable distance, unless there be some common denominator of experience. You cannot describe adequately the destruction of a city, or a reputation, to those who have never witnessed either. You cannot describe adequately aerial combat to a man who has never had his feet off the ground. We can read with considerable equanimity of the death of thousands by war, flood or famine in a far land, and that intelligence jars us rather less than a messy automobile accident on the corner before our house. Distance cushions the shock. This is the way humans behave and react. Their emotions are not involved, their anger or their fear not aroused until they approach near to danger, doubt, deceit or dishonesty. If these manifestations do not affect us personally, we seem to feel that they do not exist.

Perhaps this is selfishness, perhaps it is lack of imagination - I don't know. I do remember discussing this aspect of human behaviour with many friends in London during the V-1 period, when those lethal machines, sounding like a slow-speed washing machine, would cut out directly overhead and nose down to explode several blocks away. The individual reaction was one of relief, and very little consciousness of, or compassion for, the individuals who were destroyed only a few blocks away, unless they happened to be personal friends. It must be presumed, I think, that Counsel Welch is familiar, very familiar, with Senator McCarthy's record and tactics. He had, up to yesterday, maintained an almost affable, avuncular relationship with the Senator. He was pressing Mr. Cohn - but by Mr. Cohn's admission doing him no personal injury - when Senator McCarthy delivered his attack upon Mr. Fisher, at which point Counsel Welch reacted like a human being.

On June 2, 1930, Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) graduates from Washington State College (now University) with a B.A. in Speech. He is president of the student government, commander of the ROTC unit, head of the Pacific Student Presidents Association, a basketball player, a leading actor in campus theater productions, and the star pupil of Ida Louise Anderson (1900-1941), Washington State's popular and inspirational professor of speech. Murrow will go on to pioneer the field of broadcast journalism and give much of the credit for his success to Anderson, who remains a mentor, advisor, and close friend until her death.

In His Brothers' Footsteps

Murrow was born into a Quaker farming family in North Carolina on April 25, 1908. Named Egbert Roscoe Murrow, he was the youngest son of Roscoe and Ethel Lamb Murrow. Within a few years the family moved to Washington, settling at Blanchard on Samish Bay in Skagit County, where Roscoe worked on a logging railroad. Throughout his childhood, Egbert both looked up to and attempted to outdo his older brothers Lacey and Dewey. Lacey V. Murrow (1904-1966), the oldest, became Washington's Director of Highways while still in his twenties and supervised construction of the state's first floating bridge.

By high school, Egbert abandoned his given name, which he hated, in favor of Ed in college he began using Edward. Ed Murrow followed his brother Dewey's footsteps as valedictorian of his class and starred on championship debate and basketball teams at little Edison High School. After graduating in 1925, he spent a year working in an Olympic Peninsula logging camp to earn money for college. In the fall of 1926, he followed Lacey and Dewey to Washington State College in the southeastern Washington town of Pullman.

Murrow chose Washington State because his brothers went there, not because he was planning a career as a broadcaster (he began as a business major), but the school was well-positioned to prepare him for his pioneering career. It not only had a campus radio station, it was one of the few schools at the time to offer courses in radio broadcasting, taught by Maynard Daggy, a well-known expert on public speaking. Even more important for Murrow, WSC alumna Ida Lou Anderson had just begun her remarkable career as a professor of speech, in which she would mentor and inspire a generation of WSC students, none more than Murrow.

Ida Lou Anderson

Like Murrow, Anderson was born in the south (Tennessee) and moved to Washington as a small child, settling with her family in Colfax, the Whitman County seat just a few miles up the road from Pullman. She had polio as a child, resulting in serious physical handicaps. Nevertheless, she excelled in speech and drama classes and at the campus theater at WSC. After graduating, she earned a master's degree and returned to Pullman in 1926 as the school's youngest, and soon one of its most popular, professors, as well as a broadcasting coach and radio station advisor. Anderson demanded, and received, maximum effort from her students. Many of them remembered her class as a highlight of their college experience, and quite a few went on to careers in broadcasting, but Edward Murrow was her prize pupil, the one she called her "masterpiece" (Sperber, 26).

Switching his major, Murrow took 19 speech courses, most from Anderson, in his four years in Pullman. She helped him polish his radio technique with private lessons, introduced him to poetry and classical literature, and encouraged his wide reading and love of music. They spent hours conversing on literature, politics, and human nature, and he escorted her to dances and dramatic performances. Murrow later wrote to his fiance Janet Brewster about Anderson (who he sometimes referred to as the "other woman"):

Big Man on Campus

Murrow's growing forensic skills made him a leading figure on campus. As his brothers had, he joined the popular and powerful Kappa Sigma fraternity. With fraternity backing he was elected student body president. He eventually became head of the Pacific Student Presidents Association. He rose to command of the campus ROTC unit and was a second lieutenant in the inactive reserve when he graduated. Murrow also found time to take leading roles in campus theater productions and even to play on the basketball team.

During his senior year, Murrow attended the Fifth Annual Congress of the National Student Federation of America (NSFA). His speech, chastising fellow students for too much attention to "fraternities, football and fun" (Sperber, 29), impressed the delegates sufficiently that they named Murrow president of the organization for the coming year. He accepted with some reluctance since the position was unpaid.

After Graduation

Nevertheless, after graduating with his class on June 2, 1930, Murrow headed to New York to assume his post at NSFA, where he became a successful fundraiser. The job proved a springboard to Murrow's radio career. He made his first trip to Europe to attend an international student meeting and helped create and supply guests for the "University of the Air" series on the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), then just two years old. Murrow joined CBS in 1935 and the next year he became the network's European director, reporting from London. Within a few years, his eyewitness accounts of the London Blitz would make him internationally famous.

As his career took off, Murrow kept in regular contact with Ida Lou Anderson. By 1939, complications from her polio forced her to retire, but she continued to mentor and advise Murrow, who sent her the most powerful radio available so that she could critique his broadcasts. It was Anderson who suggested the slight pause in Murrow's introduction -- "This . is London" -- that became his famous signature phrase.

When Anderson died in 1941, Murrow funded a book of memorials published by Washington State College. After Murrow's own death, the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University was named in his honor.

The State of Washington
Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965)

Courtesy The Edward R. Murrow Center for the Study & Advancement of Public Diplomacy

Ida Lou Anderson (1900-1941)

Ida Lou Anderson (center front), with a line of students, Washington State College, 1924

Katie Bailey, a sophmore at Kentridge High School, was a freshman when she won a History Day essay award with this account of the life and accomplishments of famed newsman Edward R. Murrow. Murrow's radio reports from London during World War II's blitz transfixed American listeners, and after the war he went on to pioneer investigative reporting in the new medium of television. Murrow was never afraid to tackle difficult and controversial topics, and his television documentaries and commentaries often represented the plight of America's poor and powerless. His persistence in the search for truth and his high ethical standards inspire journalists to this day.

Baptism by Fire

It’s a regular September day in 1940. An average American family crowds around their vacuum-tube radio a person turns the main dial. He turns the dial slowly, until he finally hears a stern, but calming voice, “This . is London.”

That stern voice was Edward R. Murrow reporting from London, England, during World War II. With bombs falling around him, Murrow would vividly describe the calamitous surroundings during the German bombing blitz. Murrow mastered this style of spot-on news coverage and would later go on to create and perfect other new mediums of reporting, including documentaries and investigative reports. Murrow’s traits of perseverance, charisma, and honesty enabled him to change the nature of broadcast journalism and led to a new style of reporting that remains prominent today.

From Polecat Creek to London

On April 25, 1908, Egbert R. Murrow was born to a family of farmers in Polecat Creek, North Carolina. His family eventually moved to the town of Blanchard, Washington, when Murrow was young. In 1926, he attended Washington State College in Pullman, majoring in speech. By the time he graduated in 1930, Murrow had changed his name to Edward.

After graduating, Murrow moved to New York City to run the National Student Federation of America. In 1935, he was hired by the Columbia Broadcasting System to be the Director of Talks and Education. In 1937 CBS sent Murrow to its European bureau to investigate and report on the rising tensions unfolding in the year 1937.

Two years later, in 1939, World War II broke out. Murrow would often take life-risking chances in order to provide a better listening experience for the American people as to what the war was like. Murrow, who was stationed in the city of London, took to the rooftops and reported via radio to the American public about the mass bombings striking the city. Doing such fieldwork at the time was extremely dangerous, and Murrow’s office was bombed at least four times.

For six years, Murrow reported from Europe, primarily London, while his popularity grew among American listeners. His highly detailed accounts of the blitz earned him praise along with the sympathy and adoration of wartime America. Murrow would often try to connect with the common citizens of Britain to express his personal analysis to the listeners. Never before had Americans heard such detailed reports. Near the end of the war, Murrow explicitly revealed the horrific details of a concentration camp in Germany:

From Radio to Television

Murrow returned to America in March 1945, near the war's end, and was surprised that he was hailed as a star among the American people. Murrow served as CBS's vice-president in charge of public affairs from 1945 to 1947 and was elected to the board of directors in 1949. In 1950, he began working alongside his associate, Fred Friendly, to produce and host CBS’s new radio program, Hear It Now. For this, Murrow traveled to Korea to cover the Korean War. Murrow’s portions of the program were often centered on interviews with the common soldier, exposing listeners to the grim ambience of life at the front, reinforced by the eerie sound of artillery fire in the background. The American public was more than intrigued when photos of Murrow interviewing soldiers deep within trenches were released.

Hear It Now proved to be exceptionally popular. However, television was steadily increasing in popularity in America. CBS saw an opportunity to benefit from this new medium, and Murrow was asked to convert Hear It Now to a television format. Although initially reluctant, he finally accepted the idea, and the television program, entitled See It Now, premiered on November 18, 1951. It continued until July 7, 1958.

See It Now proved to be a faithful adaptation of the radio program. The show’s areas of interest would often center on people of Murrow’s own background and segments of society often ignored by the mainstream press: the poor, farmers, African Americans, immigrants, and the everyday man and woman. These topics, though taboo according to then-present standards, sparked interest among viewers. American audiences continued to watch these reports, due partly to Murrow’s truthful analysis and compelling presentation. Television had proved itself a very powerful ally to Murrow. The visual aspect of the medium presented imagery and evidence that radio was unable to muster.

A concept born from television and Murrow’s programming was the television documentary. Fieldwork was still often used, and was prominent in the reports Murrow gave for these documentaries. One notable episode included the 1952 special entitled "Christmas in Korea." In the episode, Murrow spent Christmas Day interviewing American soldiers who were assigned to fight for the United Nations’ combat brigade.

Another documentary on See It Now was "Harvest of Shame," which focused on the harsh living conditions of migrant workers. Other notable episodes tackled issues like the link between lung cancer and smoking, poverty, and the desegregation of schools in 1954. However, all of these were overshadowed by one of Murrow’s most controversial broadcasts.

Taking on McCarthyism

This exposé centered on Joe McCarthy, the then junior senator from Wisconsin. McCarthy had been long under attack by the press and newscasters for his inequitable prosecutions against alleged communists. The major hurdle for reporters was that they were unable to find definite proof that McCarthy had made false and unjust accusations. Murrow himself found it difficult to find a reliable source that could be used to attack McCarthy’s persistent “witch-hunt.”

Murrow became obsessively engaged in researching the case and eventually tracked down one of McCarthy's innocent victims. A broadcast in October 1953 foreshadowed Murrow's later exposé of the senator. This first broadcast focused on a man named Milo Radulovich, a former Air Force lieutenant who was relieved of his position after accusations that his family included communist sympathizers. After the broadcast, Radulovich’s case earned much-needed publicity. He was awarded a proper hearing, won his case, and was reinstated into the Air Force.

Immediately after this airing, Murrow became aware that McCarthy was now targeting him as a presumed communist contact. Murrow, who had compiled a collection of information about McCarthy over the course of several years, began forming a program out of it. This episode would later be followed up by a whole broadcast dedicated solely to McCarthy, shown on March 9, 1954. The show was composed entirely of clips of the senator’s television appearances and speeches. Rather than exposing the supposed danger posed by McCarthy's alleged communists, Murrow chose to represent the far greater terrors presented by McCarthy’s actions. These excerpts, compiled together, painted a picture of McCarthy that showed him contradicting his own statements and interrogating witnesses in a manner that exposed his crude and illogical methods.

McCarthy, upon the airing of the show, demanded a chance to respond on-air, and he appeared in person on See It Now on April 6, 1954. McCarthy’s rebuttal, in the words of Murrow, "made no reference to any statements of fact that we made" (See It Now). McCarthy's appearance eliminated any opportunity he may have had for redemption and further eroded his already declining popularity.

This exposure of McCarthy’s actions proved to be the lead for the eventual censure of the senator by his senate colleagues. However, the controversy surrounding this case, along with various other episodes, led to CBS ultimately discontinuing the show as a weekly program in 1958.

An Enduring Body of Work

Murrow continued to work for CBS until 1961 and worked on his other weekly program, Person to Person, until 1959. Person to Person started in 1953 and focused on interviews with notables like Marlon Brando, Senator John F. Kennedy, and John Steinbeck. In contrast to his gruff yet calming nature on See It Now, Murrow demonstrated friendliness, inquisitiveness, and sincerity when hosting Person to Person, and it surpassed See It Now’s ratings by a considerable margin.

In 1959, Murrow also hosted Small World, a talk show in which political opponents met for one-on-one debates. While that show soon ceased to exist as a weekly program, special broadcasts sponsored by the See It Now crew, including Murrow, continued to air on CBS. These specials were titled CBS Reports, and were full-length television documentaries that redefined the term. One of his last programs with CBS would be a remake of "Harvest of Shame," which aired in November 1960. Like the See It Now broadcast of the same name, it focused on the rough plight of migrant agricultural workers.

Murrow resigned from CBS in 1961 to take up an offer by President John F. Kennedy to be the head of the United States Information Agency. Murrow had the job for only three years before he was diagnosed in 1964 with lung cancer, due to life-long smoking. Murrow died on his New York farm on April 27, 1965, at the age of 57.

A Lasting Legacy

Although Murrow’s death was a tragic loss to the world of journalism, the legacy left by him lives on. His charisma, perseverance, and honesty proved to future generations that those traits could lead to great achievements in the fields of broadcast journalism and investigative reporting. Numerous academic resources have been dedicated to Murrow, including Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communications.

His principles have inspired many shows of today, including 60 Minutes. Don Hewitt, the late creator of 60 Minutes, claimed that the program was a combination of the “higher Murrow” (Murrow as seen in See It Now) and the “lower Murrow” (Murrow as seen in Person to Person). The 60 Minutes show has been running on CBS since 1968, and has itself spawned other TV news shows, including NBC’s Dateline and ABC’s 20-20.

In many ways, Murrow changed the way we hear and see the news. He was a master of his craft.

This essay is part of HistoryLink's People's History collection. People's Histories include personal memoirs and reminiscences, letters and other historical documents, interviews and oral histories, reprints from historical and current publications, original essays, commentary and interpretation, and expressions of personal opinion, many of which have been submitted by our visitors. They have not been verified by and do not necessarily represent its views.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965)

Courtesy The Edward R. Murrow Center for the Study & Advancement of Public Diplomacy

Leading TV Journalist and Joesph McCarthy

Murrow&aposs documentary news series, See It Now, debuted in 1951. The most famous installments of the show aired a few years later, and it best remembered for helping to stop the anticommunist persecutions led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. In 1953, Murrow told the story of a soldier who was removed from the military for being a security risk. He was deemed a risk because his father and his sister had leftist political leanings. After the story appeared on See It Now, the soldier was reinstated.

The following year, Murrow made history by taking on McCarthy directly. He did what many had been afraid to do. McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee had created an environment of fear. Those who were considered to be communists often ended up being blacklisted and unable to find work. Much to the chagrin of his network, Murrow showed McCarthy for the bully that he was using McCarthy&aposs own words.

Around this time, the hard-hitting Murrow showed a softer side with his interview show Person to Person. He met with such celebrities as Marilyn Monroe and talked with them in their homes. As the years progressed, Murrow found himself more and more at odds with his bosses at CBS. After See It Now was canceled in 1958, he launched a short-lived news discussion show Small World. He then continued to make a few documentaries for the network&aposs CBS Reports program.

Edward R. Murrow: Inventing Broadcast Journalism

In 1937 Edward R. Murrow sailed with his wife, Janet, to London where he was to take up the post of chief CBS radio correspondent in Europe. At the time, Murrow had never written a news story in his life, and he had never made a scheduled radio broadcast. He was 29 years old.

During the next three years, Murrow would oversee the birth of foreign news broadcasting, and he would make his own clipped baritone voice one of the most recognized by his countrymen. More important, Murrow, utilizing the new medium, would report from beleaguered London during the Blitz of 1940, dramatizing Britain’s stand-alone defense against Adolf Hitler to an America that slowly rallied to England’s cause. In so doing, he virtually invented modern broadcast journalism.

Murrow was a somewhat unlikely champion for the British. He had traveled to England before, but had been thoroughly unimpressed and later told one English audience: ‘I thought your streets narrow and mean, your tailors over-advertised, your climate unbearable, your class-consciousness offensive. You couldn’t cook. Your young men seemed without vigor or purpose. I admired your history, doubted your future.


Edward R. Murrow was that peculiarly American thing, a self-made man. In Britain during the war, London hostesses came to regard him as a prized dinner guest — handsome and intelligent, an elegant dresser who displayed an understated wit that appealed to local tastes. But there was little in his background to suggest such style and panache. Murrow was born Egbert Roscoe Murrow on April 24, 1908, in Polecat Creek, N.C., a place no more sophisticated than its name might suggest. When he was young, his family moved to Blanchard, Wash., a small logging town near the Pacific. In high school the self-making began with a self-naming. He dropped the Egbert and eventually re-christened himself Edward R. He worked at timbering during summers while in high school and for a year after graduation to secure the funds to attend a Washington state college.

When Murrow entered college, the field of foreign radio correspondence did not exist. Still, his undergraduate interests did much to prepare him for his future work. His best subjects were speech, debate and ROTC. He was a natural leader on graduation he became president of the National Student Federation, through which he met his future wife, Janet Brewster. He took an interest in European politics, uncommon in young Americans at the time. At age 25, he worked for a tiny organization that attempted to relocate persecuted scholars from Germany to the United States. In 1933 fear of Hitler in the United States was not great, so funds were limited and visas difficult to obtain. Still, the 335 refugees brought to the States included novelist Thomas Mann, theologian Martin Buber and philosopher Herbert Marcuse. All this was in Murrow’s background when he went to Europe in 1937.

If war was to be Murrow’s coming-of-age, it was also the coming-of-age of radio. Murrow’s lack of reporting credentials meant little when he went to London in 1937. He was sent to the British capital to be director of talks, and his task was to schedule interviews with notables from government, business and the arts. At the time, CBS did not report the news from London CBS, and radio generally, barely reported the news from New York. News coverage was largely limited to radio commentators, like H.V. Kaltenborn, and to announcers who read the headlines on the hour. It was the Depression, and the public turned to radio not for news, which was mostly bad, but for escape — the humor of Jack Benny and Burns and Allen and the singing of Bing Crosby and Kate Smith.

Murrow was among the first to see serious journalistic possibilities in the airwaves. In August 1937, Murrow decided to hire an itinerant American journalist as CBS’ man on the Continent. The reporter, William L. Shirer, having fled Prohibition-era Iowa for a place where a man could drink a glass of wine or a stein of beer without breaking the law, had been knocking about Europe for a decade. By chance, on the same day that Shirer was laid off from his post as a correspondent for Universal Service in Berlin, Murrow offered him a job. Shirer accepted, but a hurdle remained. With CBS brass listening in from New York, Shirer made a voice audition. His speaking voice was Midwestern, nasal and flat, and CBS executives thought he was terrible. Murrow put his foot down: He was not hiring announcers, he said, but people who could think and write. That was Murrow’s personal standard, and Shirer was the first to meet it.

(The issue would resurface in 1939, when Murrow wanted to hire a young American newspaperman who had gone to Paris in 1937 to be near the war that he, though few others, expected. Not wanting to be a famous war correspondent named Arnold, the young journalist dropped his first name and presented himself to the world as Eric Sevareid. His voice audition was worse than Shirer’s. Shirer had been monotone Sevareid was a mumbler. So he was, and — hired at Murrow’s insistence — so he remained through an illustrious four-decade-long broadcast career.)

Events pressed the new medium into a new role. On March 12, 1938, Shirer traveled to Vienna — coincidentally, the same day the Germans were marching in, adding Hitler’s native country to his Nazi state. The day’s top story had landed in Shirer’s lap, but he could not report it. German officials refused to let him broadcast and escorted him out of the radio station.

At Murrow’s suggestion, Shirer flew to London to report his story on air from there. Murrow then headed for Vienna to cover subsequent events. From New York, CBS news director Paul White called Shirer to say he wanted reports from London, Vienna, Paris, Berlin and Rome, using American newspaper correspondents: A half-hour show, and I’ll telephone you the exact time for each capital in about an hour. Can you and Murrow do it? I said yes, Shirer recorded in his diary, and we hung up. The truth is I didn’t have the faintest idea.

In eight hours, and on a Sunday, Murrow and Shirer lined up newsmen to make reports, found the needed shortwave facilities and went on the air — live. The broadcast, a great success, soon became a standard feature. Shortly thereafter, Shirer recorded in his diary: The [Austrian] crisis has done one thing for us. Birth of the ‘radio foreign correspondent’ so to speak.

The basic forms were set early. Correspondents would write their stories, clear them through censorship, then go to a government-operated shortwave facility to transmit them live back to CBS in New York. The programs sounded more organized than they were. In New York, announcer Robert Trout might say, We take you now to William Shirer in Berlin. In Berlin, Shirer could not hear Trout’s voice rather, he simply started speaking live into a microphone at an assigned time.

The seizure of Austria was bad news worse news followed. The Western democracies deserted Czechoslovakia at Munich. Murrow had a world scoop on the settlement, but took little consolation in it. He was not so much a newsman as a citizen of the world. The rise of Hitler was, to him, less a story to be covered than an unraveling catastrophe he could do little to stem. Post-Munich, Murrow met up with Shirer in Paris, where the pair tried without success to drink themselves into a better frame of mind.

America seemed largely indifferent. To Murrow, it was as though the greatest drama in history was playing to an empty and deserted theater. In July 1939, Shirer was briefly back in New York. His wife, Tess, told him he was making [him]self most unpopular by taking such a pessimistic view [of Europe]. They know there will be no war. And Americans clearly wanted none. At year’s end, more than 95 percent of Americans polled were against war with Germany. By then Poland had fallen. In April 1940, Denmark and Norway followed. In May, German tanks rolled into the Netherlands, Belgium and France, with resistance quickly subdued. On June 22, the French surrendered at Compiègne, an event for which Shirer again gained a world scoop. With the French surrender, England stood alone.

England’s future was never more in doubt than in the summer and fall of 1940 when Hitler, master of the Continent, unleashed his Luftwaffe on Great Britain, his sole opponent still standing. For Murrow, nothing less than the future of civilization was at stake in that battle. For millions in America, news of that conflict came each evening in a report that began with Murrow’s signature phrase, This…is London.

England’s south coast awaited invasion. In Berlin two Nazi officials placed bets with Shirer: The first wagered that the German swastika would be flying over Trafalgar Square by August 15 the second said by September 7. Along the French and Belgian coasts, the Germans concentrated the small craft — 1,700 by mid-August — with which they planned to transport the initial invasion wave of 90,000 soldiers and 650 tanks. In London a newspaper vendor posted a placard that typified English resolve: We’re in the final. And it’s on the home pitch.

The German attack had two phases. In the first — lasting from mid-August to early September 1940 — the Luftwaffe sought to destroy the Royal Air Force. If the RAF was defeated, it could not provide air cover for the British navy, which would then be forced to withdraw from the English Channel. A German crossing would follow. In Germany, invasion planning proceeded. On September 2, Shirer noted that German press officers had removed a gigantic illuminated map of France that had been used to help reporters track the invasion of that country. That map has been taken down, Shirer reported, and an equally large one substituted. It was a map of England.

From opposite sides of the Channel, Murrow in London — assisted by his colleague, Larry LeSueur, another of Murrow’s young hires — and Shirer in Berlin tracked the first battle in history to be fought solely in the air. Or at least they tried. All acknowledged that with aircraft so small flying so high, it was all but impossible to tell what was happening. Though many current military historians believe the Luftwaffe was gaining an edge, Hitler was impatient he wanted the invasion to be accomplished by late September, before the October fogs cut visibility in the Channel. He decided that bombing civilian London would quickly cow the British.

On September 7, wave after wave of German bombers struck London in a 12-hour attack. Murrow was southeast of the city, trying to get a bead on the action. He interviewed Englishmen in a variety of places, including spending part of the day near an RAF air base. After writing his script, the following day he broadcast live from the studio: On the airdrome ground crews swarmed over those British fighters, fitting ammunition belts and pouring in gasoline. As soon as one fighter was ready, it took to the air, and there was no waiting for flight leaders or formation. The Germans were already coming back, down the river, heading for France. He spoke of the hollow grunt of the bombs, [the] huge pear-shaped bursts of flame. He talked to a pub owner who told us these raids were bad for the chickens, the dogs and the horses. And for a time, he simply took cover, hunkering down with Vincent Sheean, an American writer whom Murrow pressed into service from time to time, and Ben Robertson of the short-lived New York newspaper PM. As Murrow described it: Vincent Sheean lay on one side of me and cursed in five languages….Ben Robertson…lay on the other side and kept saying in that slow South Carolina drawl, ‘London is burning, London is burning.’ London, indeed, was burning. Four hundred were dead, triple that many injured, and fires blazed throughout the city.

London’s stand against the bombing became the focus of world attention eventually, 120 reporters — a huge number at the time — came to the British capital to report it. Murrow stood out as unmatched. This was so, first, because of the manner in which he portrayed the English — not as heroes but as human: unflappable, dogged, quirky. He reported how life among the many citizens continued after the bombing of residential London began: Walking down the street a few minutes ago, shrapnel stuttered and stammered on the rooftops and from underground came the sound of singing, and the song was ‘My Blue Heaven.’

He reported on Londoners’ solidarity in the shelters, but noted that even there, the rich fared better than the working classes. He spoke of a cluster of old dowagers and retired colonels who took refuge at the Mayfair Hotel. There, he remarked, the protection was not great, but you would at least be bombed with the right sort of people. He reported on casual courage. He described an official adding a name to a list of firefighters killed battling fires the bombing had caused. The list, Murrow noted, contained 100 names.

Added to Murrow’s empathy for the British people was his mastery of language. He was, his colleague Sevareid said, the first great literary artist of a new medium. Murrow, through reflection and intuition, had a keen appreciation of broadcasting’s power and nature. Radio, he said, was essentially intimate. It was not an announcer speaking to an audience, but Murrow as an individual speaking to fellow individuals who had gathered by their Philcos in living rooms in Kansas or New Hampshire. He believed that radio was visual, and he had a gift for the evocative phrase. When Winston Churchill was made prime minister, Murrow introduced him as Britain’s tired old man of the sea. Knowing that moonlight made London more visible to attacking aircraft, he referred to one night sky as being brightened by a bomber’s moon.And Murrow believed that radio’s task was not to bring the story to the listener, but to bring the listener to the story.

On August 24, two weeks before the On the airdrome program, he had made a remarkable nighttime broadcast from London’s Trafalgar Square, standing just outside the entrance to a bomb shelter. Live and unscripted, his words painted the scene: the searchlights splashing white on the bottom of clouds a red double-decker bus — most of its lights extinguished in the blackout — passing like a ship at night a driver calmly stopping for a red light on a totally deserted street. Murrow said he could see almost nothing in the blackout. But he could hear something. Bringing his listeners to the scene, he lowered the microphone to street level so that people in America could hear the footsteps of Londoners taking shelter from bombs.

Through it all, Murrow was battling on a second front. That August 24 coverage of the bombing had raised questions about the propriety of such live, on-the-scene reporting of the attacks. As bombing continued, Murrow pressed British officials hard for permission to do regular, unscripted, live, on-the-street broadcasts of the events. Initially, British officialdom was dismissive — Murrow was not even a citizen, and live broadcasts could give valuable information to an enemy that would presumably be listening in. Murrow pressed the matter, explaining that his broadcasts would be transmitted from his microphone through the BBC headquarters, where they would still be subject to censorship. More important, he gained an ally, Prime Minister Churchill. Forty years earlier Churchill had been a correspondent in the Boer War, and he had a newsman’s residual compassion for getting the story out. More to the point, he believed that anything done to dramatize London’s struggle would build American sympathy for England’s cause.

By mid-September, Murrow gained permission. With the live broadcasts, he became the star of his own drama, standing exposed on rooftops. The sounds of bombs exploding near him were clearly audible. In narrow terms, the work was quite remarkably dangerous. In broader terms, his accounts of a city under siege made compelling listening. Murrow’s reports from London helped make radio America’s dominant news media. In one 1940 survey, 65 percent of respondents said radio was their best source of news. His own audience grew to 22 million, reportedly including President Franklin Roosevelt and members of his cabinet. Many were swayed by what they heard. During September 1940, the bombing’s first month, the share of Americans telling Gallup pollsters that their nation should aid Britain increased from 16 to 52 percent. That month, President Roosevelt went to Congress to repeal the Neutrality Act that barred military support to the British.

Hitler had good reason to believe that the bombing of civilian London would soon break Britain’s will to resist. Prewar, most military experts held that aerial bombardment would quickly devastate any city. In 1932 British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin had famously stated, The bomber will always get through — a remark that did little to bolster British self-assurance. As events in London and elsewhere were to prove, such bombing more generally strengthened than broke resolve. The London Blitz was, however, the first sustained bombing of a major city. And when, contrary to expectations, that city did not fall, respect for its stand grew. Murrow shared the sentiment, and he broadcast that admiration. From one bombed location, he reported: The girls in light, cheap dresses were strolling along the streets. There was no bravado, no loud voices, only a quiet acceptance of the situation. To me those people were incredibly brave and calm.

London sent its children to the countryside, ate powdered eggs rather than fresh ones and endured the nightly attacks, sleeping in bomb shelters. At year’s end, Londoners were underfed, under-rested and under bombardment. Murrow’s December 29 broadcast caught the grimness of the hour: No one expects the New Year to be happy. We shall live hard before it is ended. The immediate problems are many and varied: Something must be done about the night bombers and the submarines improved facilities for life underground must be provided. He added: Probably the best summary — written by Wordsworth [when England was at war with Napoleon] in 1806: ‘Another year, another blow, another mighty empire, overthrown, and we are left, and shall be left, alone, the last that dared to struggle with the foe.’

The bombing affected people strangely, noted Sevareid, who joined Murrow in London after the fall of France. Those who were walking when the first bombs dropped would halt. Those who were standing would begin to walk. Murrow once awakened CBS correspondent LeSueur, who was bunking at the Murrow’s, with the news that the building was on fire. LeSueur picked up his clothes and walked into a closet to get dressed.

Murrow refused to go into shelters, saying that once you did you lost your nerve. With considerable nonchalance, Murrow, LeSueur and a young New York Times reporter, James Reston, played golf on a nine-hole course on London’s Hampstead Heath. If a ball rolled near an unexploded bomb, it was declared an unplayable lie.

The hazards were all too real. Out walking one evening, Murrow suddenly stepped into a doorway. Two colleagues instantly followed suit. Seconds later, a shell casing landed where they had been standing. CBS was repeatedly bombed out of its tiny London office — always without serious casualty. Another evening, Ed and Janet Murrow were walking home and he suggested stopping in the Devonshire Arms, a pub frequented by journalists. Janet said she was tired, so they continued home. Ten minutes later the pub received a direct hit — and everyone inside was killed.

Sevareid did not share that bravado. He lived a few blocks from the BBC, and wrote: To get to the underground broadcasting facility meant a walk of a couple blocks for me. I would shuffle cautiously through the inky blackness to each curbing where the guns would make the crossing street a tunnel of sudden, blinding light. [Then,] I would plaster myself against the nearest wall, and, however sternly I lectured myself, I not infrequently found myself doing the last 50 yards at a dead run.

If Murrow was not frightened, he was nonetheless exhausted. Sleeping little, eating less and smoking four packs of cigarettes a day, he was driven by his sense of the importance of the event. Among other problems, Murrow had to reconcile his own views with CBS’ strict policy of nonpartisanship. In part he did this simply by presenting the British as the underdog, relying on his countrymen’s natural sympathies to take England’s side. Further, however, he was inclined to attribute his own point of view to others, then report it as news. He spoke of the attitudes of unnamed Englishmen who, he said, had given up on the notion that victory could be achieved without American aid. Now, Murrow reported, such Englishman had come to admit: British victory, if not British survival, will be made possible only by American action. There are too many Germans, and they have too many factories. It seems strange to hear English, who were saying, ‘we’ll win this one without America,’ admitting now that this world — or what’s left of it — will be largely run either from Berlin or from Washington.

Of Murrow’s influence, Sevareid later wrote: The generality of British people will probably never know what Murrow did for them in those days….Murrow was not trying to’sell’ the British cause to America he was trying to explain the universal human cause of men who were showing a noble face to the world. In so doing he made the British and their behavior human and thus compelling to his countrymen at home.

The German air assaults varied in intensity. The strength of the attacks depended in part on the demands made by German operations elsewhere and, apparently, by Germany’s periodic shortage of lubricating fluids for its aircraft. After a lull, the Luftwaffe returned in April 1941. Murrow reported: They came over shortly after blackout time, and a veritable show of flares and incendiaries. One of those nights where you wear your best clothes, because you’re never sure that when you come home you’ll have anything other than the clothes you were wearing. Given the size of the city, Murrow added, it was difficult to judge the severity of an attack from one’s own vantage. If the bombs fall close to you, he added: You are inclined to think the bombing is very severe. Tonight, having been thrown against the wall by blasts — which feels like nothing so much as being hit with a feather-covered board — and having lost our third office, which looks like some crazy giant had been operating an eggbeater in its interior, I naturally conclude that the bombing has been heavy. Actually, it was the heaviest single attack of the war. The following month, CBS lost its fourth office.

Toward the end of 1941, Murrow returned to New York to receive what one observer called the greatest welcome given a journalist since Henry Morton Stanley returned, having found David Livingstone. One thousand gathered for a testimonial dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. There, poet and Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish praised Murrow’s work: But it was not in London really that you spoke. It was in the back kitchens and the front living rooms and the moving automobiles and the hotdog stands…that your voice was truly speaking. What Murrow had done, MacLeish added, was to destroy the belief that what happened 3,000 miles away was not really happening. You burned the city of London in our houses and we felt the flames that burned it. You laid the dead of London at our doors and we knew the dead were our dead — were all men’s dead….Without rhetoric, without dramatics, without more emotion than needed be, you destroyed the superstition of distance and of time.

Murrow’s own remarks were those of a man making a case. He told the audience: If you were in London now, you would be surprised at the number of people who would say to you, ‘Tell your fellow countrymen not to make the same mistakes we made. We didn’t want anything of this world except to be let alone — until it was almost too late.’ And, again making reference to thoughtful Englishmen, Murrow used the podium to issue a challenge: The question most often asked by thoughtful Englishmen is this: ‘If America comes in, will she stay in? Does she have any appetite for the greatness that is being thrust upon her?’

On the night that dinner was held — December 2, 1941 — America’s role in the conflict was still unsettled. Five days later, in an act that astonished Murrow, Pearl Harbor was bombed, and America was at war.

With the United States at war, Americans leaned more strongly into the day’s events. CBS expanded its European news team. In time, those reporting with Murrow included many who would make great careers in broadcasting: along with Shirer, LeSueur and Sevareid were Charles Collingwood, Howard K. Smith, Richard C. Hottelet, Cecil Brown, William Downs and Winston Burdett. When Murrow hired them, they were little more than kids — bright boys in their mid-20s — as inexperienced at radio news reporting as Murrow had been. They did, however, meet Murrow’s personal standard: They could think and they could write. And most modeled their approach to gathering the news on Murrow’s approach. Customarily, their reports would be part fact, part essay, part color and part editorial, all wrapped up in a crisply written two- or three-minute account that became the standard format for CBS journalism. Many others in the field regarded their work as the best ever done in broadcasting.

Murrow, who defined their task and directed their efforts, never made any great claims for himself — not for his efforts during the Blitz, or for what followed. Writing to Charles Collingwood in the immediate postwar period, Edward R. Murrow said, For a few brief years a few men attempted to do an honest job of reporting under difficult and sometimes hazardous conditions and they did not altogether fail.

This article was written by Mark Bernstein and originally published in the June 2005 issue of American History Magazine. For more great articles, subscribe to American History magazine today!

Today in Media History: Edward R. Murrow investigated Joe McCarthy on ‘See It Now’

CBS News broadcaster Edward R. Murrow smokes a cigarette on a CBS set. (AP Photo)

On March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow and his CBS news program, “See It Now,” examined Senator Joseph McCarthy’s record and anti-communist methods.

The program is often remembered for these words:

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’

Good night, and good luck.”

A new generation of viewers were introduced to Edward R. Murrow and “See It Now” in the 2005 film, “Good Night, and Good Luck.” But many watched the original program on the evening of March 9, 1954:

(Here are links to the full “See It Now” program and transcript.)

“Murrow produced a number of episodes of the show that dealt with the Communist witch-hunt hysteria (one of the more notable episodes resulted in a U.S. military officer, Milo Radulovich, being acquitted, after being charged with supporting Communism), before embarking on a broadcast on March 9, 1954 that has been referred to as television’s finest hour.

By using mostly recordings of McCarthy himself in action interrogating witnesses and making speeches, Murrow and Friendly displayed what they felt was the key danger to the democracy: not suspected Communists, but McCarthy’s actions themselves.”

— “See It Now: Senator McCarthy“
Archive of American Television

Screenshot from the PBS American Masters program, “This Reporter”

In 1990 CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt and the PBS American Masters series profiled the career of Edward R. Murrow. Here are links to videos of part one and part two.

“See It Now (1951-57), one of television’s earliest documentary series, remains the standard by which broadcast journalism is judged for its courage and commitment. The series brought radio’s premier reporter, Edward R. Murrow, to television, and his worldly expertise and media savvy helped to define television’s role in covering and, more importantly, analyzing the news.

….Although See It Now relied on CBS correspondents abound the world, Murrow, serving as editor-in-chief, and (Fred) Friendly, as managing editor, organized the first autonomous news unit, whose ranks included reporter/producers Joe Wershba and Ed Scott director Don Hewitt production manager Palmer Williams and former newsreel cameramen Charlie Mack and Leo Rossi.

….Murrow and Friendly invented the magazine news format, which became the dominant documentary form on network television.”

— “See It Now“
Museum of Broadcast Communications

Edward R. Murrow’s warnings to news industry ring true today

The godfather of broadcast journalism, Edward R. Murrow, stunned the media establishment in a speech delivered 60 years ago today. His speech to the Radio Television News Directors Association in 1958 blasted media executives for turning broadcast news into “an incompatible combination of show business, advertising and news.”

He said the public interest could not be served when news was merely “a commodity” to sell to advertisers. Real journalism, he pointed out, was the loser in this commodification.

His wise insights were true then and even more so today.

The speech has been known through the years as Murrow’s “Wires and lights in a box” speech. Near the end of his chastising remarks, Murrow challenged broadcasting’s leaders to use television to “teach,” “illuminate” and “inspire.” Otherwise, he warned the promise of electronic media would be relegated to “nothing but wires and lights in a box.” Network executives were angry with Murrow because he scolded them for wasting broadcasting’s potential to inform the citizenry. They had been expecting a ceremonial pat on the back. Instead, the executives got straight talk from a media visionary.

Murrow had already long been the conscience and spiritual leader of electronic news when he delivered his critique in 1958. Murrow was the CBS radio voice that informed America of the European war theater in World War II. His broadcasts from London during the Battle of Britain riveted American listeners, Murrow sometimes broadcasting from rooftops as German aircraft roared overhead and explosions were heard in the background.

As a CBS executive, Murrow hired news reporters who were seasoned newspaper and wire service journalists, not simply announcers or showmen. Those reporters became known as the “Murrow Boys,” and many went on to legendary broadcast careers themselves, including Howard K. Smith, Eric Sevareid and Charles Collingwood. The “Murrow Boys” were highly educated. Smith and Collingwood were Rhodes Scholars. They represented all regions of the United States. Odds are none of them would get hired in the glitzy and superficial world of broadcast journalism today.

Murrow oversaw and narrated a series of hard-hitting special reports for CBS television in the early 1950s, including a 1954 report that took on McCarthyism. His authoritative voice and rugged good looks certainly played a role in his broadcast career trajectory, but it was his penetrating insight, his commitment to accuracy and dedication to the audience that forged his broadcasting reputation.

The 1958 Murrow address is worth revisiting in 2018, as media credibility craters and journalists struggle to understand their missions. “I am seized with an abiding fear regarding what these two instruments (radio and TV) are doing to our society, our culture, our heritage,” Murrow worried, “Television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us.”

Today, with around the clock deadlines, cable news provocateurs, social media chaos, and fringe "news" websites, the potential for mediated cultural and information harm is far greater than when Murrow spoke.

Murrow would decry today’s news arena in which television anchors are heavily promoted as high profile celebrities who often mix commentary into their news reports. Murrow once warned his journalistic colleagues, “Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”

Murrow is well remembered for his war reporting, documentaries and hiring of talented reporters, but his greatest contribution to broadcast news was to provide a moral compass in the industry’s formative years. His common sense view of the world was developed through his blue collar work as a young man in the logging camps of the northwest United States. He insisted that news be fact driven and that any analysis be based on those facts.

Today, sixty years after Murrow’s famous speech, the electronic news industry seemingly lacks any individual or organization to impart the professional guidance or moral leadership he once provided. American news consumers suffer because of this vacuum.

Jeffrey McCall (@Prof_McCall) is a media critic and professor of communication at DePauw University. He has worked as a radio news director, a newspaper reporter, and as a political media consultant.


Murrow was born Egbert Roscoe Murrow at Polecat Creek, near Greensboro, [2] in Guilford County, North Carolina, to Roscoe Conklin Murrow and Ethel F. (née Lamb) Murrow. His parents were Quakers. [3] He was the youngest of four brothers and was a "mixture of Scottish, Irish, English and German" descent. [4] The firstborn, Roscoe Jr., lived only a few hours. Lacey Van Buren was four years old and Dewey Joshua was two years old when Murrow was born. [5] His home was a log cabin without electricity or plumbing, on a farm bringing in only a few hundred dollars a year from corn and hay.

When Murrow was six years old, his family moved across the country to Skagit County in western Washington, to homestead near Blanchard, 30 miles (50 km) south of the Canada–United States border. He attended high school in nearby Edison, and was president of the student body in his senior year and excelled on the debate team. He was also a member of the basketball team which won the Skagit County championship.

After graduation from high school in 1926, Murrow enrolled at Washington State College (now Washington State University) across the state in Pullman, and eventually majored in speech. A member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, he was also active in college politics. By his teen years, Murrow went by the nickname "Ed" and during his second year of college, he changed his name from Egbert to Edward. In 1929, while attending the annual convention of the National Student Federation of America, Murrow gave a speech urging college students to become more interested in national and world affairs this led to his election as president of the federation. After earning his bachelor's degree in 1930, he moved back east to New York.

Murrow was assistant director of the Institute of International Education from 1932 to 1935 and served as assistant secretary of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, which helped prominent German scholars who had been dismissed from academic positions. He married Janet Huntington Brewster on March 12, 1935. Their son, Charles Casey Murrow, was born in the west of London on November 6, 1945.

Murrow joined CBS as director of talks and education in 1935 and remained with the network for his entire career. [2] CBS did not have news staff when Murrow joined, save for announcer Bob Trout. Murrow's job was to line up newsmakers who would appear on the network to talk about the issues of the day. But the onetime Washington State speech major was intrigued by Trout's on-air delivery, and Trout gave Murrow tips on how to communicate effectively on radio.

Murrow went to London in 1937 to serve as the director of CBS's European operations. The position did not involve on-air reporting his job was persuading European figures to broadcast over the CBS network, which was in direct competition with NBC's two radio networks. During this time, he made frequent trips around Europe. [6] In 1937, Murrow hired journalist William L. Shirer, and assigned him to a similar post on the continent. This marked the beginning of the "Murrow Boys" team of war reporters. [7]

Radio Edit

Murrow gained his first glimpse of fame during the March 1938 Anschluss, in which Adolf Hitler engineered the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. While Murrow was in Poland arranging a broadcast of children's choruses, he got word from Shirer of the annexation—and the fact that Shirer could not get the story out through Austrian state radio facilities. Murrow immediately sent Shirer to London, where he delivered an uncensored, eyewitness account of the Anschluss. Murrow then chartered the only transportation available, a 23-passenger plane, to fly from Warsaw to Vienna so he could take over for Shirer. [8]

At the request of CBS management in New York, Murrow and Shirer put together a European News Roundup of reaction to the Anschluss, which brought correspondents from various European cities together for a single broadcast. On March 13, 1938, the special was broadcast, hosted by Bob Trout in New York, including Shirer in London (with Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson), reporter Edgar Ansel Mowrer of the Chicago Daily News in Paris, reporter Pierre J. Huss of the International News Service in Berlin, and Senator Lewis B. Schwellenbach in Washington, D.C. Reporter Frank Gervasi, in Rome, was unable to find a transmitter to broadcast reaction from the Italian capital but phoned his script to Shirer in London, who read it on the air. [9] : 116–120 Murrow reported live from Vienna, in the first on-the-scene news report of his career: "This is Edward Murrow speaking from Vienna. It's now nearly 2:30 in the morning, and Herr Hitler has not yet arrived."

The broadcast was considered revolutionary at the time. Featuring multipoint, live reports transmitted by shortwave in the days before modern technology (and without each of the parties necessarily being able to hear one another), it came off almost flawlessly. The special became the basis for World News Roundup—broadcasting's oldest news series, which still runs each weekday morning and evening on the CBS Radio Network.

In September 1938, Murrow and Shirer were regular participants in CBS's coverage of the crisis over the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, which Hitler coveted for Germany and eventually won in the Munich Agreement. Their incisive reporting heightened the American appetite for radio news, with listeners regularly waiting for Murrow's shortwave broadcasts, introduced by analyst H. V. Kaltenborn in New York saying, "Calling Ed Murrow . come in Ed Murrow."

During the following year, leading up to the outbreak of World War II, Murrow continued to be based in London. William Shirer's reporting from Berlin brought him national acclaim and a commentator's position with CBS News upon his return to the United States in December 1940. Shirer would describe his Berlin experiences in his best-selling 1941 book Berlin Diary. When the war broke out in September 1939, Murrow stayed in London, and later provided live radio broadcasts during the height of the Blitz in London After Dark. These live, shortwave broadcasts relayed on CBS electrified radio audiences as news programming never had: previous war coverage had mostly been provided by newspaper reports, along with newsreels seen in movie theaters earlier radio news programs had simply featured an announcer in a studio reading wire service reports.

Murrow's reports, especially during the Blitz, began with what became his signature opening, "This is London," delivered with his vocal emphasis on the word this, followed by the hint of a pause before the rest of the phrase. His former speech teacher, Ida Lou Anderson, suggested the opening as a more concise alternative to the one he had inherited from his predecessor at CBS Europe, Cesar Saerchinger: "Hello America. This is London calling." Murrow's phrase became synonymous with the newscaster and his network. [10]

Murrow achieved celebrity status as a result of his war reports. They led to his second famous catchphrase, at the end of 1940, with every night's German bombing raid, Londoners who might not necessarily see each other the next morning often closed their conversations with "good night, and good luck." The future British monarch, Princess Elizabeth, said as much to the Western world in a live radio address at the end of the year, when she said "good night, and good luck to you all". So, at the end of one 1940 broadcast, Murrow ended his segment with "Good night, and good luck." Speech teacher Anderson insisted he stick with it, and another Murrow catchphrase was born.

When Murrow returned to the U.S. in 1941, CBS hosted a dinner in his honor on December 2 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. 1,100 guests attended the dinner, which the network broadcast. Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a welcome-back telegram, which was read at the dinner, and Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish gave an encomium that commented on the power and intimacy of Murrow's wartime dispatches. [9] : 203–204 "You burned the city of London in our houses and we felt the flames that burned it," MacLeish said. "You laid the dead of London at our doors and we knew that the dead were our dead, were mankind's dead. You have destroyed the superstition that what is done beyond 3,000 miles of water is not really done at all." [11]

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred less than a week after this speech, and the U.S. entered the war as a combatant on the Allied side. Murrow flew on 25 Allied combat missions in Europe during the war, [9] : 233 providing additional reports from the planes as they droned on over Europe (recorded for delayed broadcast). Murrow's skill at improvising vivid descriptions of what was going on around or below him, derived in part from his college training in speech, aided the effectiveness of his radio broadcasts.

As hostilities expanded, Murrow expanded CBS News in London into what Harrison Salisbury described as "the finest news staff anybody had ever put together in Europe". [9] : 230 The result was a group of reporters acclaimed for their intellect and descriptive power, including Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, Howard K. Smith, Mary Marvin Breckinridge, Cecil Brown, Richard C. Hottelet, Bill Downs, Winston Burdett, Charles Shaw, Ned Calmer, and Larry LeSueur. Many of them, Shirer included, were later dubbed "Murrow's Boys"—despite Breckinridge being a woman. In 1944, Murrow sought Walter Cronkite to take over for Bill Downs at the CBS Moscow bureau. Cronkite initially accepted, but after receiving a better offer from his current employer, United Press, he turned down the offer. [12]

Murrow so closely cooperated with the British that in 1943 Winston Churchill offered to make him joint director-general of the BBC in charge of programming. Although he declined the job, during the war Murrow did fall in love with Churchill's daughter-in-law, Pamela, [9] : 221–223,244 [13] whose other American lovers included Averell Harriman, whom she married many years later. Pamela wanted Murrow to marry her, and he considered it however, after his wife gave birth to their only child, Casey, he ended the affair.

After the war, Murrow recruited journalists such as Alexander Kendrick, David Schoenbrun, Daniel Schorr [14] and Robert Pierpoint into the circle of the Boys as a virtual "second generation", though the track record of the original wartime crew set it apart.

On April 12, 1945, Murrow and Bill Shadel were the first reporters at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. He met emaciated survivors including Petr Zenkl, children with identification tattoos, and "bodies stacked up like cordwood" in the crematorium. In his report three days later, Murrow said: [9] : 248–252

I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald. I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it I have no words. If I've offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I'm not in the least sorry.

Radio Edit

In December 1945 Murrow reluctantly accepted William S. Paley's offer to become a vice president of the network and head of CBS News, and made his last news report from London in March 1946. [9] : 259,261 His presence and personality shaped the newsroom. After the war, he maintained close friendships with his previous hires, including members of the Murrow Boys. Younger colleagues at CBS became resentful toward this, viewing it as preferential treatment, and formed the "Murrow Isn't God Club." The club disbanded when Murrow asked if he could join. [16] [7]

During Murrow's tenure as vice president, his relationship with Shirer ended in 1947 in one of the great confrontations of American broadcast journalism, when Shirer was fired by CBS. He said he resigned in the heat of an interview at the time, but was actually terminated. [17] The dispute began when J. B. Williams, maker of shaving soap, withdrew its sponsorship of Shirer's Sunday news show. CBS, of which Murrow was then vice president for public affairs, decided to "move in a new direction," hired a new host, and let Shirer go. There are different versions of these events Shirer's was not made public until 1990.

Shirer contended that the root of his troubles was the network and sponsor not standing by him because of his comments critical of the Truman Doctrine, as well as other comments that were considered outside of the mainstream. Shirer and his supporters felt he was being muzzled because of his views. Meanwhile, Murrow, and even some of Murrow's Boys, felt that Shirer was coasting on his high reputation and not working hard enough to bolster his analyses with his own research. [ citation needed ] Murrow and Shirer never regained their close friendship.

The episode hastened Murrow's desire to give up his network vice presidency and return to newscasting, and it foreshadowed his own problems to come with his friend Paley, boss of CBS.

Murrow and Paley had become close when the network chief himself joined the war effort, setting up Allied radio outlets in Italy and North Africa. After the war, he would often go to Paley directly to settle any problems he had. "Ed Murrow was Bill Paley's one genuine friend in CBS," noted Murrow biographer Joseph Persico.

Murrow returned to the air in September 1947, taking over the nightly 7:45 p.m. ET newscast sponsored by Campbell's Soup and anchored by his old friend and announcing coach Bob Trout. For the next several years Murrow focused on radio, and in addition to news reports he produced special presentations for CBS News Radio. In 1950, he narrated a half-hour radio documentary called "The Case of the Flying Saucer." It offered a balanced look at UFOs, a subject of widespread interest at the time. Murrow interviewed both Kenneth Arnold and astronomer Donald Menzel. [18] [19]

From 1951 to 1955, Murrow was the host of This I Believe, which offered ordinary people the opportunity to speak for five minutes on radio. He continued to present daily radio news reports on the CBS Radio Network until 1959. He also recorded a series of narrated "historical albums" for Columbia Records called I Can Hear It Now, which inaugurated his partnership with producer Fred W. Friendly. In 1950 the records evolved into a weekly CBS Radio show, Hear It Now, hosted by Murrow and co-produced by Murrow and Friendly.

Television and films Edit

As the 1950s began, Murrow began his television career by appearing in editorial "tailpieces" on the CBS Evening News and in the coverage of special events. This came despite his own misgivings about the new medium and its emphasis on pictures rather than ideas.

On November 18, 1951, Hear It Now moved to television and was re-christened See It Now. In the first episode, Murrow explained: "This is an old team, trying to learn a new trade." [9] : 354

In 1952, Murrow narrated the political documentary Alliance for Peace, an information vehicle for the newly formed SHAPE detailing the effects of the Marshall Plan upon a war-torn Europe. It was written by William Templeton and produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr.

In 1953, Murrow launched a second weekly TV show, a series of celebrity interviews entitled Person to Person.

Criticism of McCarthyism Edit

See It Now focused on a number of controversial issues in the 1950s, but it is best remembered as the show that criticized McCarthyism and the Red Scare, contributing, if not leading, to the political downfall of Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy had previously commended Murrow for his fairness in reporting. [7]

On June 15, 1953, Murrow hosted The Ford 50th Anniversary Show, broadcast simultaneously on NBC and CBS and seen by 60 million viewers. The broadcast closed with Murrow's commentary covering a variety of topics, including the danger of nuclear war against the backdrop of a mushroom cloud. Murrow also offered indirect criticism of McCarthyism, saying: "Nations have lost their freedom while preparing to defend it, and if we in this country confuse dissent with disloyalty, we deny the right to be wrong." Forty years after the broadcast, television critic Tom Shales recalled the broadcast as both "a landmark in television" and "a milestone in the cultural life of the '50s". [20]

On March 9, 1954, Murrow, Friendly, and their news team produced a half-hour See It Now special titled "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy". [21] Murrow had considered making such a broadcast since See It Now debuted and was encouraged to by multiple colleagues including Bill Downs. However, Friendly wanted to wait for the right time to do so. [22] Murrow used excerpts from McCarthy's own speeches and proclamations to criticize the senator and point out episodes where he had contradicted himself. Murrow and Friendly paid for their own newspaper advertisement for the program they were not allowed to use CBS's money for the publicity campaign or even use the CBS logo.

The broadcast contributed to a nationwide backlash against McCarthy and is seen as a turning point in the history of television. It provoked tens of thousands of letters, telegrams, and phone calls to CBS headquarters, running 15 to 1 in favor. [23] In a retrospective produced for Biography, Friendly noted how truck drivers pulled up to Murrow on the street in subsequent days and shouted "Good show, Ed."

Murrow offered McCarthy the chance to respond to the criticism with a full half-hour on See It Now. McCarthy accepted the invitation and appeared on April 6, 1954. In his response, McCarthy rejected Murrow's criticism and accused him of being a communist sympathizer [McCarthy also accused Murrow of being a member of the Industrial Workers of the World which Murrow denied. [24] ]. McCarthy also made an appeal to the public by attacking his detractors, stating:

Ordinarily, I would not take time out from the important work at hand to answer Murrow. However, in this case I feel justified in doing so because Murrow is a symbol, a leader, and the cleverest of the jackal pack which is always found at the throat of anyone who dares to expose individual Communists and traitors. [25]

Ultimately, McCarthy's rebuttal served only to further decrease his already fading popularity. [26] In the program following McCarthy's appearance, Murrow commented that the senator had "made no reference to any statements of fact that we made" and rebutted McCarthy's accusations against himself. [27]

Later television career Edit

Murrow's hard-hitting approach to the news, however, cost him influence in the world of television. See It Now occasionally scored high ratings (usually when it was tackling a particularly controversial subject), but in general, it did not score well on prime-time television.

When a quiz show phenomenon began and took TV by storm in the mid-1950s, Murrow realized the days of See It Now as a weekly show were numbered. (Biographer Joseph Persico notes that Murrow, watching an early episode of The $64,000 Question air just before his own See It Now, is said to have turned to Friendly and asked how long they expected to keep their time slot).

See It Now was knocked out of its weekly slot in 1955 after sponsor Alcoa withdrew its advertising, but the show remained as a series of occasional TV special news reports that defined television documentary news coverage. Despite the show's prestige, CBS had difficulty finding a regular sponsor, since it aired intermittently in its new time slot (Sunday afternoons at 5 p.m. ET by the end of 1956) and could not develop a regular audience.

In 1956, Murrow took time to appear as the on-screen narrator of a special prologue for Michael Todd's epic production, Around the World in 80 Days. Although the prologue was generally omitted on telecasts of the film, it was included in home video releases.

Beginning in 1958, Murrow hosted a talk show entitled Small World that brought together political figures for one-to-one debates. In January 1959, he appeared on WGBH's The Press and the People with Louis Lyons, discussing the responsibilities of television journalism. [28]

Murrow appeared as himself in a cameo in the British film production of Sink the Bismarck! in 1960, recreating some of the wartime broadcasts he did from London for CBS. [29]

On September 16, 1962, he introduced educational television to New York City via the maiden broadcast of WNDT, which became WNET.

Fall from favor Edit

Murrow's reporting brought him into repeated conflicts with CBS, especially its chairman William Paley, which Friendly summarized in his book Due to Circumstances Beyond our Control. See It Now ended entirely in the summer of 1958 after a clash in Paley's office. Murrow had complained to Paley he could not continue doing the show if the network repeatedly provided (without consulting Murrow) equal time to subjects who felt wronged by the program.

According to Friendly, Murrow asked Paley if he was going to destroy See It Now, into which the CBS chief executive had invested so much. Paley replied that he did not want a constant stomach ache every time Murrow covered a controversial subject. [30]

See It Now ' s final broadcast, "Watch on the Ruhr" (covering postwar Germany), aired July 7, 1958. Three months later, on October 15, 1958, in a speech before the Radio and Television News Directors Association in Chicago, Murrow blasted TV's emphasis on entertainment and commercialism at the expense of public interest in his "wires and lights" speech:

During the daily peak viewing periods, television in the main insulates us from the realities of the world in which we live. If this state of affairs continues, we may alter an advertising slogan to read: Look now, pay later. [31]

The harsh tone of the Chicago speech seriously damaged Murrow's friendship with Paley, who felt Murrow was biting the hand that fed him. Before his death, Friendly said that the RTNDA (now Radio Television Digital News Association) address did more than the McCarthy show to break the relationship between the CBS boss and his most respected journalist.

Another contributing element to Murrow's career decline was the rise of a new crop of television journalists. Walter Cronkite's arrival at CBS in 1950 marked the beginning of a major rivalry which continued until Murrow resigned from the network in 1961. Murrow held a grudge dating back to 1944, when Cronkite turned down his offer to head the CBS Moscow bureau. [32] With the Murrow Boys dominating the newsroom, Cronkite felt like an outsider soon after joining the network. Over time, as Murrow's career seemed on the decline and Cronkite's on the rise, the two found it increasingly difficult to work together. Cronkite's demeanor was similar to reporters Murrow had hired the difference being that Murrow viewed the Murrow Boys as satellites rather than potential rivals, as Cronkite seemed to be. [33]

Throughout the 1950s the two got into heated arguments stoked in part by their professional rivalry. At a dinner party hosted by Bill Downs at his home in Bethesda, Cronkite and Murrow argued over the role of sponsors, which Cronkite accepted as necessary and said "paid the rent." Murrow, who had long despised sponsors despite also relying on them, responded angrily. In another instance, an argument devolved into a "duel" in which the two drunkenly took a pair of antique dueling pistols and pretended to shoot at each other. [9] : 527 Despite this, Cronkite went on to have a long career as an anchor at CBS.

After the end of See It Now, Murrow was invited by New York's Democratic Party to run for the Senate. Paley was enthusiastic and encouraged him to do it. Harry Truman advised Murrow that his choice was between being the junior senator from New York or being Edward R. Murrow, beloved broadcast journalist, and hero to millions. He listened to Truman. [5]

After contributing to the first episode of the documentary series CBS Reports, Murrow, increasingly under physical stress due to his conflicts and frustration with CBS, took a sabbatical from summer 1959 to mid-1960, though he continued to work on CBS Reports and Small World during this period. Friendly, executive producer of CBS Reports, wanted the network to allow Murrow to again be his co-producer after the sabbatical, but he was eventually turned down.

Murrow's last major TV milestone was reporting and narrating the CBS Reports installment "Harvest of Shame," a report on the plight of migrant farmworkers in the United States. Directed by Friendly and produced by David Lowe, it ran in November 1960, just after Thanksgiving.

Summary of television work Edit

  • 1951–1958 – See It Now (host)
  • 1953–1959 – Person to Person (host)
  • 1958–1960 – Small World (moderator and producer)

United States Information Agency (USIA) Director Edit

Murrow resigned from CBS to accept a position as head of the United States Information Agency, parent of the Voice of America, in January 1961. President John F. Kennedy offered Murrow the position, which he viewed as "a timely gift." CBS president Frank Stanton had reportedly been offered the job but declined, suggesting that Murrow be offered the job.

His appointment as head of the United States Information Agency was seen as a vote of confidence in the agency, which provided the official views of the government to the public in other nations. The USIA had been under fire during the McCarthy era, and Murrow reappointed at least one of McCarthy's targets, Reed Harris. [35] Murrow insisted on a high level of presidential access, telling Kennedy, "If you want me in on the landings, I'd better be there for the takeoffs." However, the early effects of cancer kept him from taking an active role in the Bay of Pigs Invasion planning. He did advise the president during the Cuban Missile Crisis but was ill at the time the president was assassinated. Murrow was drawn into Vietnam because the USIA was assigned to convince reporters in Saigon that the government of Ngo Dinh Diem embodied the hopes and dreams of the Vietnamese people. Murrow knew the Diem government did no such thing. [36] Asked to stay on by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Murrow did so but resigned in early 1964, citing illness. Before his departure, his last recommendation was of Barry Zorthian to be chief spokesman for the U.S. government in Saigon, Vietnam. [37]

Murrow's celebrity gave the agency a higher profile, which may have helped it earn more funds from Congress. His transfer to a governmental position—Murrow was a member of the National Security Council, a position for life—led to an embarrassing incident shortly after taking the job he asked the BBC not to show his documentary "Harvest of Shame," in order not to damage the European view of the USA however, the BBC refused as it had bought the program in good faith. [38] British newspapers delighted in the irony of the situation, with one Daily Sketch writer saying: "if Murrow builds up America as skillfully as he tore it to pieces last night, the propaganda war is as good as won." [39]

According to some biographers, [ who? ] near the end of Murrow's life, when health problems forced him to resign from the USIA, Paley reportedly invited Murrow to return to CBS. Murrow, possibly knowing he could not work, declined Paley's offer.

A chain smoker throughout his life, Murrow was almost never seen without his trademark Camel cigarette. It was reported that he smoked between sixty and sixty-five cigarettes a day, equivalent to roughly three packs. [40] See It Now was the first television program to have a report about the connection between smoking and cancer. During the show, Murrow said, "I doubt I could spend a half hour without a cigarette with any comfort or ease." He developed lung cancer and lived for two years after an operation to remove his left lung.

Murrow died at his home in Pawling, New York on April 27, 1965, two days after his 57th birthday. [41] His colleague and friend Eric Sevareid said of him, "He was a shooting star and we will live in his afterglow a very long time." CBS carried a memorial program, which included a rare on-camera appearance by William S. Paley, founder of CBS.

  • Murrow was repeatedly honored with the Peabody Award, jointly and individually. [42]
  • In 1947 Murrow received the Alfred I. duPont Award. [43]
  • In 1964, Murrow was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. [citation needed]
  • 1964: Paul White Award, Radio Television Digital News Association[44]
  • He was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on March 5, 1965 and received similar honors from the governments of Belgium, France, and Sweden. [citation needed]
  • He received "Special" George Polk Awards in 1951 and 1952. [citation needed]
  • In 1967, he was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for his Edward R. Murrow – A Reporter Remembers, Vol. I The War Years. [citation needed]
  • The Edward R. Murrow Award, given annually by the Radio Television Digital News Association is named in his honor it is presented for "outstanding achievement in electronic journalism"
  • The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University is named in his honor.
  • The Edward R. Murrow Park in Washington, D.C. is named in his memory. in Brooklyn, New York is named after him.
  • Murrow Boulevard is a large thoroughfare in the heart of Greensboro, North Carolina. [citation needed]
  • The last remaining Voice of America broadcast transmitting site in the United States is named after him. [citation needed]
  • A statue of native Edward R. Murrow stands on the grounds of the Greensboro Historical Museum. [45]
  • In 1984, Murrow was posthumously inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. [citation needed]
  • In 1996, Murrow was ranked # 22 on TV Guide ' s "50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time" list. [46]
  • The Edward R. Murrow Park in Pawling, New York was named for him. [citation needed]

After Murrow's death, the Edward R. Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy was established at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Murrow's library and selected artifacts are housed in the Murrow Memorial Reading Room that also serves as a special seminar classroom and meeting room for Fletcher activities. Murrow's papers are available for research at the Digital Collections and Archives at Tufts, which has a website for the collection and makes many of the digitized papers available through the Tufts Digital Library.

The center awards Murrow fellowships to mid-career professionals who engage in research at Fletcher, ranging from the impact of the "new world information order" debate in the international media during the 1970s and 1980s to, currently, telecommunications policies and regulation. Many distinguished journalists, diplomats, and policymakers have spent time at the center, among them the late David Halberstam, who worked on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Best and the Brightest, as a writer-in-residence in the early 1970s. Veteran journalist Crocker Snow Jr. was named director of the Murrow Center in 2005.

In 1971 the RTNDA (Now Radio Television Digital News Association) established the Edward R. Murrow Awards, honoring outstanding achievement in the field of electronic journalism. There are four other awards also known as the "Edward R. Murrow Award," including the one at Washington State University.

In 1973, Murrow's alma mater, Washington State University, dedicated its expanded communication facilities the Edward R. Murrow Communications Center and established the annual Edward R. Murrow Symposium. [47] In 1990, the WSU Department of Communications became the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, [48] followed on July 1, 2008, with the school becoming the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. [49] Veteran international journalist Lawrence Pintak is the college's founding dean.

Several movies were filmed, either completely or partly about Murrow. In 1986, HBO broadcast the made-for-cable biographical movie, Murrow, with Daniel J. Travanti in the title role, and Robert Vaughn in a supporting role. In the 1999 film The Insider, Lowell Bergman, a television producer for the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, played by Al Pacino, is confronted by Mike Wallace, played by Christopher Plummer, after an exposé of the tobacco industry is edited down to suit CBS management and then, itself, gets exposed in the press for the self-censorship. Wallace passes Bergman an editorial printed in The New York Times, which accuses CBS of betraying the legacy of Edward R. Murrow. Good Night, and Good Luck is a 2005 Oscar-nominated film directed, co-starring and co-written by George Clooney about the conflict between Murrow and Joseph McCarthy on See It Now. Murrow is portrayed by actor David Strathairn, who received an Oscar nomination. In the film, Murrow's conflict with CBS boss William Paley occurs immediately after his skirmish with McCarthy.

In 2003 Fleetwood Mac released "Say You Will," featuring the track "Murrow Turning Over In His Grave." On the track, Lindsey Buckingham reflects on current news media and claims Ed Murrow would be shocked at the bias and sensationalism displayed by reporters in the new century if he was alive.

Experiencing History Holocaust Sources in Context

Few journalists have enjoyed more success than Edward R. Murrow. He began a career in radio during the 1930s, when the medium was still new and had not yet gained the same respect as newspaper reporting. Murrow helped to change that by putting together a remarkable team of broadcast journalists who reported on breaking events in Europe prior to and during World War II. 1

By the time World War II broke out in 1939, radio had become a medium for entertainment, news, and propaganda. 2 In the United States, roughly 110 million people, about 90 percent of the population, tuned in to the radio on the average of four hours per day. Audiences throughout the world were glued to their radio sets, eager to learn what was happening on the battlefront. 3 Radio waves carried a human voice and the news of the day with emotion and immediacy. Changes in communications technology allowed broadcast journalists to get their stories out quickly to their audiences, often ahead of newspapers.

Because the United States remained neutral at the start of the war, American correspondents could report from the wartime capitals, and sometimes from Europe's battlefields. Yet, like other news services, broadcast journalists faced immense challenges in getting their stories out. Censorship became more strict throughout the world for both newspaper and broadcast journalists. In some countries, such as Nazi Germany, scripts had to be approved by censors before airing. Reporters had to gain approval from governments and military in order to visit the front lines. 4

Murrow, like many reporters, risked death during bombing raids and broadcasts from the front. He reported from the rooftops of London buildings during the &ldquoBlitz,&rdquo when Germany&rsquos air force, the Luftwaffe, heavily bombed the British capital to force the United Kingdom to surrender. Listeners in America could hear the chilling sounds of bombs and anti-aircraft fire. After the entry of the United States into the war, he took part in some two dozen raids over German targets, witnessing for himself the terrible destruction unleashed by Allied bombers.

Murrow&rsquos broadcasts from London cemented his reputation as a first-class journalist and helped to build American support for Britain's war with Nazi Germany. Like many other CBS reporters in those early days of the war, Murrow supported American intervention in the conflict and strongly opposed Nazism. He had witnessed the flood of refugees fleeing German-occupied Czechoslovakia and had helped German-Jewish intellectuals find posts in the United States. On December 12, 1942, Murrow took to the radio to report on the Nazi mass murder of Europe&rsquos Jews.

More than two years later, Murrow recorded the featured broadcast describing evidence of Nazi crimes at the newly-liberated Buchenwald concentration camp. 5 Murrow had arrived there the day after US troops and what he saw shocked him. Murrow returned to London shaken and angry. &ldquoThe smell of death was on his uniform," one colleague recalled. 6 His experience was so horrific that he delayed his report for three days, hoping to maintain some sort of detachment. On the day of the broadcast, April 15, 1945, Murrow appeared to be trembling and filled with rage by the time his segment ended. He later informed a fellow radio broadcaster that he was overwhelmed by the tragedy. The sight of hundreds of children&rsquos shoes had unnerved him. 7

This team included William L. Shirer, Eric Sevareid, Howard K. Smith, and Richard C. Hottelet, among others. On this topic, see Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olson, The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996).

For more on propaganda in the United States during the war, see the related Experiencing History collection, Propaganda and the American Public.

For more, see Gerd Horten, Radio Goes to War: The Cultural Politics of Propaganda During World War II (Ewing, NJ: University of California Press, 2003).

To receive permission to report on these events, reporters had to agree to omit locations and specific information that might prove beneficial to the enemy. Euphemisms often replaced more concrete language. News that potentially weakened public morale or spurred panic or fear had to be removed from reports. Enemy intelligence officers and propagandists also carefully combed through foreign news to gain useful information. For more, see Richard Collier, Fighting Words: The War Correspondents of World War II (New York: St. Martin&rsquos Press, 1990), 34&ndash35.

Murrow wasn't the only American who traveled to Buchenwald to witness firsthand the horrors of the camp. American Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam also visited Buchenwald in April of 1945 in an effort to deliver a report on Nazi atrocities that had occured there.

Alexander Kendrick, Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1969), 278&ndash279.

Joseph E. Persico, Edward R. Murrow: An American Original (New York: Dell Publishing, 1988), 227&ndash231.

Permit me to tell you what you would have seen and heard had you had been with me on Thursday. It will not be pleasant listening. If you are at lunch, or if you have no appetite to hear what Germans have done, now is a good time to switch off the radio for I propose to tell you of Buchenwald. It is on a small hill about four miles outside Weimar, and it was one of the largest concentration camps in Germany, and it was built to last.

As we approached it, we saw about a hundred men in civilian clothes with rifles advancing in open-order across the field. There were a few shots. We stopped to inquire. We&rsquore told that some of the prisoners have a couple of SS men cornered in there. We drove on, reached the main gate. The prisoners crowd up behind the wire. We entered. And now, let me tell this in the first-person, for I was the least important person there, as you can hear.

There surged around me an evil-smelling stink. Men and boys reached out to touch me. They were in rags and the remnants of uniforms. Death had already had marked many of them, but they were smiling with their eyes. I looked out over that mass of men to the green fields beyond, where well-fed Germans were ploughing. A German, Fritz Kersheimer, came up and said, 'May I show you around the camp? I&rsquove been here for ten years.' An Englishman stood to attention saying, &lsquoMay I introduce myself? Delighted to see you. And can you tell me when some of our folks will be along?&rsquo I told him, 'soon,' and asked to see one of the barracks. It happened to be occupied by Czechoslovakians. When I entered, men crowded around, tried to lift me to their shoulders. They were too weak. Many of them could not get out of bed. I was told that this building had once stabled 80 horses. There were 1200 men in it, five to a bunk. The stink was beyond all description. When I reached the center of the barracks, a man came up and said, 'You remember me, I am Petr Zenkl, one time mayor of Prague.' I remembered him, but did not recognize him. He asked about Benes and Jan Masaryk. I asked how many men had died in that building during the last month. They called the doctor we inspected his records. There were only names in the little black book, nothing more&mdashnothing of who had been where, what they had done or hoped. Behind the names of those who had died there was a cross. I counted them. They totaled 242, two hundred and forty-two out of 1200 in one month.

As I walked down to the end of the barracks, there was applause from the men too weak to get out of bed. It sounded like the hand-clapping of babies, they were so weak. The doctor's name was Paul Heller. He had been there since '38. As we walked out into the courtyard, a man fell dead. Two others&ndashthey must have been over 60&ndashwere crawling toward the latrine. I saw it, but will not describe it.

In another part of the camp they showed me the children, hundreds of them. Some were only six. One rolled up his sleeve, showed me his number. It was tattooed on his arm. B-6030, it was. The others showed me their numbers. They will carry them till they die. An elderly man standing beside me said, 'The children&ndashenemies of the state!' I could see their ribs through their thin shirts. The old man said, 'I am Professor Charles Richer of the Sorbonne.' The children clung to my hands and stared. We crossed to the courtyard. Men kept coming up to me to speak to me and touch me, professors from Poland, doctors from Vienna, men from all of Europe. Men from the countries that made America.

We went to the hospital it was full. The doctor told me that two hundred had died the day before. I asked the cause of death. He shrugged and said: 'Tuberculosis, starvation, fatigue, and there are many who have no desire to live. It is very difficult.' Dr. Heller pulled back the blanket from a man's feet to show me how swollen they were. The man was dead. Most of the patients could not move.

As we left the hospital, I drew out a leather billfold, hoping that I had some money which would help those who lived to get home. Professor Richer from the Sorbonne said, 'I should be careful of my wallet if I were you. You know there are criminals in this camp, too.' A small man tottered up, say, 'May I feel the leather, please? You see, I used to make good things of leather in Vienna.' Another man said, 'My name is Walter Roeder. For many years I lived in Joliet. Came back to Germany for a visit and Hitler grabbed me.'

I asked to see the kitchen it was clean. The German in charge had been a Communist, had been at Buchenwald for nine years, had a picture of his daughter in Hamburg. He hadn&rsquot seen her in twelve years, and if I got to Hamburg, would I look her up? He showed me the daily ration: one piece of brown bread about as thick as your thumb, on top of it a piece of margarine as big as three sticks of chewing gum. That, and a little stew, was what they received every twenty-four hours. He had a chart on the wall very complicated it was. There were little red tabs scattered through it. He said that was to indicate each ten men who died. He had to account for the rations, and he added, 'We&rsquore very efficient here.'

We went again into the courtyard, and as we walked, we talked. The two doctors, the Frenchman and the Czech, agreed that about six thousand had died during March. Kershenheimer, the German, added that back in the winter of 1939, when the Poles began to arrive without winter clothing, they died at the rate of approximately 900 a day. Five different men asserted that Buchenwald was the best concentration camp in Germany they had had some experience of the others.

Dr. Heller, the Czech, asked if I would care to see the crematorium. He said it wouldn&rsquot be very interesting because the Germans had run out of coke some days ago, and had taken to dumping the bodies into a great hole nearby. Professor Richer said perhaps I would care to see the small courtyard. I said yes. He turned and told the children to stay behind. As we walked across the square, I noticed that the professor had a hole in his left shoe and a toe sticking out of the right one. He followed my eyes and said, 'I regret that I am so little presentable, but what can one do?' At that point, another Frenchman came up to announce that three of his fellow countrymen outside had killed three SS men and taken one prisoner.

We proceeded to the small courtyard. The wall was about eight feet high. It adjoined what had been a stable or garage. We entered. It was floored with concrete. There were two rows of bodies stacked up like cordwood. They were thin and very white. Some of the bodies were terribly bruised, though there seemed to be little flesh to bruise. Some had been shot through the head, but they bled but little. All except two were naked. I tried to count them as best I could, and arrived at the conclusion that all that was mortal of more than five hundred men and boys lay there in two neat piles.

There was a German trailer, which must have contained another fifty, but it wasn&rsquot possible to count them. The clothing was piled in a heap against the wall. It appeared that most of the men and boys had died of starvation they had not been executed. But the manner of death seemed unimportant. Murder had been done at Buchenwald. God alone knows how many men and boys have died there during the last twelve years. Thursday, I was told that there were more than twenty thousand in the camp. There had been as many as sixty thousand. Where are they now? As I left the camp, a Frenchman who used to work for Havas in Paris came up to me and said, &lsquoYou will write something about this, perhaps?&rsquo And he added, 'To write about this, you must have been here at least two years, and after that&ndashyou don&rsquot want to write any more.'

Trutherator's Weblog

Edward Murrow was built up in his lifetime and since as a great journalist and exemplary, and no doubt journalism schools everywhere lift him up as a fine example to follow.

But there are things that you won’t find in the standard boilerplate biographies that are relevant to the story.

Edward Murrow had already presented all kinds of attacks against Senator Joe McCarthy’s post-war investigations of the infiltration of Communist agents, and more specifically Soviet agents, in the United States government and the state department.

The fact that it was a valid pursuit was vindicated when investigators later discovered that Alger Hiss was passing secret information to the Soviets. Alger Hiss was one of the subjects of the McCarthy hearings, and those hearings exposed him. A former member of the Communist Party produced physical evidence that Alger Hiss was not only a member of the Communist Party with him, but that they had collaborated to pass secret government documents to the Soviet Union.

Remember, that was Josef Stalin‘s Soviet Union.

Then there was Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of treason for passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.

There have been lots more exposed ever since, and there are characters of higher positions who have also been exposed but not in the sources that the public is force-fed from Big Media. “None Dare Call it Treason” exposed some of that, and of course the nameless faceless characters in the shadows have decreed to put the facts exposed with that tome behind the psychological smokescreen of “conspiracy theory” labeling.

When has history ever been free of conspiracies by the rich and powerful to increase their riches and their power and fool us?

I stayed at a motel once where the manager was one of the Hungarian “freedom fighters” of 1956. Those brave souls threw out their Communist masters in one day! and they had control of the country for one whole week. They had quickly formed the structure of a republican government and they were already in charge of the country, this man told me, and immediately requested official recognition from the Western nations.

Russian troops were massed quickly on the borders but they stayed there waiting for orders. This freedom fighter veteran told me that it was common knowledge at the time around the world that the Russians were waiting to see what the USA reaction would be, and the entire world knew this. Everybody waited.

Remember, Truman had rushed to official recognized the state of Israel within hours of the declaration by their nascent government.

But it took Eisenhower a week to declare his intentions about Hungary. Finally, he used a speech to proclaim that they had already taken care of that issue (of Hungary) at the Yalta conferences. We know from history that’s where the West gave post-war Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union. Eisenhower was saying they would not recognize the new free republic of Hungary and they would not interfere with Soviet interests there. The next day, Stalin’s tanks rolled into Hungary, the freedom fighters fled alongside all the Hungarians that could manage to scramble across the river to Austria.

Barry Farber, a master of many languages, was there to help the refugees get out, and described some of that escape effort in his book, “How to Learn Any Language”.

Murrow rebutted later and “explained away” some of the accusations in the piece, but then ever since then he is the one that has gotten the last word in Ivy League journalism, history books used in government schools, in mass media references, and every time anti-Communism gets mentioned.

And the fact that Murrow and his stories knocked back any attempt to expose surreptitious infiltration of socialist ideology into federal government, despite the fact that McCarthy had exposed its reality, is suggestive.

And note here, that he also protested when his bosses began to allow their own equal-time rebuttals to his attacks. Like I say, fascist leftists believe in “free speech for me, but not for thee”. They believe it’s okay to take our money for their pet causes but don’t believe it’s okay for the people to take their money for the people’s causes. Increase taxes on oil producers, but give money to subsidize inefficient energy.

In other words, Murrow made Joe McCarthy into a club that knocks critics of socialism and Communism into exile from the land of free speech and public consciousness.

The word “irony” is overused, but I think it applies here.

The left and the control freak press has used the same tactics they accused Joe McCarthy of to do the same things to anybody who exposed socialist strategies, tactics, methods, penetrations, and plans.

It is also telling that Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs are still held as heroes and martyrs by Communists and leftists even as they claim their “innocence”, saying they were never Communists and traitors. They denounce opposition to communism while they demand the government they claim to despise apply the same “McCarthy” and “witch-hunt” tactics against free-market advocates and dissenters.

Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed and hid, that shall not be known. – Matthew 10:26

Watch the video: Good Night and Good Luck..The Story of Edward R. Murrow 1975 (July 2022).


  1. Lindley

    It doesn't quite come close to me.

  2. Samurr

    Dear respect

  3. Christofer

    I am at last, I am sorry, but I offer to go in another way.

  4. Cullan

    Excuse me for what I have to intervene ... similar situation. Ready to help.

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