Good night & good luck

I am a patient man in some areas of my daily life such that I can wait for my cinematic intake to come out on DVD. So I waited for Good Night & Good Luck to arrive onto my television set at the convenience of my local Blockbuster Video store.

I suppose it is too late for a review but in passing I'd like to mention that I thought it was a great movie -- I mean really great, way up there in the top whatever. Dramatic. Intense. Thoughtful. Relevant... I have to see it again ASAP because it was such an enthralling cinematic experience.

I love you George Clooney and want your baby!

However, the film draws our attention also to the work of Edward R. Murrow -- the broadcast journalist.
"We will not walk in fear, of one another. We will not be driven by
fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and 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. We can deny our heritage and our
history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is
no way for a citizen of the Republic to abdicate his responsibility." -
From the March 9, 1954, "See It Now" television broadcast on Senator
Joe McCarthy.

And this guy was indeed an extraordinary talent. I've just been reading some of his dispaches while doing research on broadcast journalism. Murrow's belief in the power of the media seem almost revolutionary-- even perhaps quaint-- in these days of CNN. Today a news report may average one minute and twenty seconds and the actual information quotient will be something you have to guess at -- maybe even unconsiously.

This is why I am so much now caught up with podcasting -- I mean the listening part of it. I get my radio that way. And radio as a medium is like Clooney's movie -- it is informational and engaged and even didatic in a way that television doesn't want to be. The audio medium is dense because it puts your brain to work. Television is, as I was told when a nipper, mere "chewing gum for the eyes".

Of course it -- or rather video per se -- doesn't have to be like that but let's say that I prefer to listen to my news and commentary rather than watch it.

I 've been listening to radio for years and I guess I got into that primarily as a form of companionship--as a sort of background to daily life. But the problem so often is that radio when blaring from the mantlepiece or from the desktop is always at a variable distance both geographically or within the contour of your concentration.

But add a pair of earphones and be granted the ability to select what you want to listen, when, and be mobile with your sound source with you --and you get podcasting.

And it's true what so many have suggested -- podcasting can/is rebooting radio.

I now love to read the scripts of radio broadcasts -- such as Democracy Now, The World Today, Background Briefing, etc --and I marvel at the edit, at the concise storytelling, the logic and creativity of the communication experience that radio seems to offer. You get to appreciate good journalism

So when you come to someone like Murrow -- as an example at least -- you are not just getting news but artistry. Take his Report from Buchenwald:
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 already had marked many of them, but they were smiling with their eyes. I looked out over the mass of men to the green fields beyond, where well-fed Germans were ploughing....As we walked out into the courtyard, a man fell dead. Two others, they must have been over 60, were crawling toward the latrine. I saw it, but will not describe it....

I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald. I reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it, I have no words.

If I have offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I'm not in the least sorry....


I'm using Murrow as an example of so much of the great work done in audio. It leaves television for dead.

I am being exposed via the medium of podcasts such wonderful creations --humane, poignant, engaged and passionate -- that I am shamed by the fact that I had remained so ignorant of this experience for so long. It is not that I'm prejudiced so much against video -- but I guess it's easier in that medium to lie or pass by being trite. It lends itself to calculated manipulation in the way that something that is more informational, more demanding of the producer -- like text or audio -- does not.

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