The Edward R. Murrow Collection

Docurama/CBS News. <i>393 minutes.</i>

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Any nostalgia that some network news junkies might feel for the glory days of Rather et al. fades after viewing this essential anthology, which effortlessly argues the radicalism of Edward R. Murrow as a voice of the people. Here’s a TV reporter who, unlike the flag-pin-wearing embedded correspondents of the Iraq war, lugged his “thousand-pound pencil” to Korea and used it to film a U.S. Marine saying that the war there was a “bunch of nonsense.

”The four discs—“This Reporter,” an anchor- studded biography; “The Best of ‘See It Now,’” Murrow’s early documentary series; “The McCarthy Years”; and the landmark migrantworker documentary “Harvest of Shame”—show a chronic perfectionist whose black-and- white broadcasts favored the representative “little picture.” Murrow may have been one of television’s first celebrities, but he was also something of a regular guy: His typical fare- well was “Good night, and good luck”—as if to suggest that the latter was something we needed in the 1950s. Representing common interests rather than corporate ones, Murrow advocated for the rights of the working poor and famously went up against—and took down—Red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Such programs didn’t do much to halt the rise of quiz shows and sitcoms, and (his own increasingly frequent interviews with movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando aside) Murrow’s 1958 prediction that TV historians would find “evidence of decadence, escapism, and insulation from the realities in which we live” remains bone- chilling, the big-media equivalent of Eisenhower’s warning about the evils of the military-industrial complex. No wonder he would be out of the business just two years later.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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