Tuesday, June 20, 2006

American Journalism at its Finest

Recently, I watched the movie, "Good Night, and Good Luck" on DVD. It was as good as I had hoped, and as I had heard from both friends and critics.

Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly were journalists that cared about the truth, and about conveying that truth to America's citizens. How trite that sounds today in a world with George W. Bush, Enron, and partisan media. They were journalists who believed in checking their sources, getting the story right, and not being intimidated by political bullies and fear mongers like McCarthy.

The contributions of George Clooney and Grant Heslov as the screenwriters, and Clooney as the director cannot be minimized. This movie moves right along and keeps the viewer involved, even though this is essentially a movie of talking heads, in a cinematic environment dominated by kids' animation, teen horror flicks and blockbusters like "The DaVinci Code".

Then and Now

Last night, I saw "Free Speech: Ben Bradley and Jim Lehrer" on PBS. If you get a chance, and you're interested in a conversation between two greats of contemporary American journalism, check it out. I'm sure it will run a lot on your local PBS station in the next week or two.

Ben Bradley was the editor-in-chief at The Washington Post in the Watergate era; he was Woodward & Bernstein's boss. He's now 84, and seems to still have most of his marbles.

The comment he made that had the most impact on me, and is the reason I've linked these two thoughts, is his dismay at the fact that we [the American public] take lying for granted now. The President lies, heads of corporations lie, etc. Lying is now expected, de rigueur. When he was a young journalist, and even as recently as 20 years ago, this was not the case.

I know that I have come to expect the easy lie from just about anywhere. And, I am surprised when I hear what I believe to be the truth. I think this is a sad thing, and ironic in this day when the religious right wing are trying to take over most facets of society. Jesus didn't say it was okay to lie, did he?

For myself, in my little job which requires a fairly high degree of confidentiality, as well as vigilance to maintain fairness, I try not to lie, ever. Depending on the circumstance, I will either appropriately withhold confidential information, or I will tell the truth as gently as possible.

Not infrequently, people don't want to hear the truth. But I have found an uncomfortable truth to be far more impowering to the individual than an easy lie.


Blogger Clint said...

We seem to be on the same page, certainly about Bill Moyers, and handicap issues.

Wish you would post more, you write well and have points to express

Peace, Clint

2:18 PM  

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