Good night, and good luck: Afterthoughts

The smoke and the Truth

When the lights went on a sepulchral silence filled the room. I thought that most of the audience had found it difficult to digest this wonderful but complex film, not suitable for the general public (better for journalists and such), shot in a glorious black and white as the story it tells is one of those stories which can only be recalled in black and white. Some of the audience ran away most likely to smoke as soon they could, since in “Good night, and good luck”, people smoke lots and with such class, especially the main character, Edward R. Munrow (David Strathairn). The smoke itself is actually another character, so good that it would have deserved to be nominated for the Oscars…

It was in the 50’s when senator McCarthy was amidst the Witch Hunt after the communists. Broadcast journalism was taking its first steps, and Murrow and his team, from the editorial office at CBS, were able to stop McCarthy, overcoming both dirty political work as well as corporate and advertising pressure. “We won’t walk in danger. Remember that we don’t descend from men who were afraid to write, talk, associate or defend causes that were, once then, unpopular”. I ask myself if that same message can be applied nowadays to most of our guild, so given to cover the truth with smoke, or sell smoke as truth. Munrow, who in another argument defends the essence of journalism -to tell good stories with honesty- over empty spectacle, would quit smoking provided he didn’t have to stand some of the rubbish which currently competes in the audience charts.

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