The importance of film? The importance of video? Edward R. Murrow knew.

January 9th, 2011  

Grim editorial in the Toronto Star yesterday. Looking ahead: Canada faces risky world”.

For Canadians, Afghanistan is destined to be a year of redeploying dangerously. In Europe, this will be the year of hedging dangerously. From financial threats to terrorist perils, Canada’s world in 2011 promises to be as messy as it will be menacing.

I see even worse things in Canada’s future… I’m reminded of Edward R. Murrow said in his March 9, 1954 broadcast, See It Now:

“But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”

I’m going on record as to how much deserting freedom is going on at home.

And speaking of “home”, it was just over a year ago that I registered for Office of Mayor for the 2010 Mississauga municipal election. I did it primarily for two reasons:  1) to experience what it’s like to run against Hazel McCallion and 2) to gain insight into how McCallion stayed in power for over thirty-three years.

Now I know. And have it on record.

Speaking of “record”, back in 2007, I created a video on Edward R. Murrow, a hero of mine. I took selected clips from the Biography Channel’s half hour documentary, “Edward R. Murrow” and produced these three minutes.

If nothing else, let “EDWARD R. MURROW –MY HERO” uploaded to YouTube March 24, 2007 bears testimony to the irreplaceable role film played as documentation back in 1954.

(And video today!…)

EDWARD R. MURROW –MY HERO (3:06 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]
(Video: courtesy Biography Channel, Edward R. Murrow)

Joseph Wershba, field producer SEE IT NOW:

—that my God, we have won a victory with this new thing called television.

And I don’t know if it was at that point that Fred said to Murrow, “this is a tough one” and Murrow said, “from here on in they’re all going to be tough.”

Narrator, Biography Channel:

See It Now had scored a great coup against the reckless accusations of McCarthyism. But Murrow knew he’d picked a fight with McCarthy and that it was only a matter of time before the battle would get personal.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH, watching Biography Channel Feb/March 2007:

Go for it!

Narrator, Biography Channel:

Murrow was a marked man. But he was never one to back out of a fight. He and Friendly ordered the See It Now crew to start collecting film of McCarthy.

For over three months they worked on the program and tried to summon the nerve to run it.

Mili Bonsignori, film editor SEE IT NOW:

We really were scared. We were blameless —or we thought we were blameless, but that didn’t seem to make any difference. We had a feeling that McCarthy would  be after us. And especially after Murrow.

Fred W. Friendly, Producer SEE IT NOW:

There was Ed. He leaned over like this —and he said, “The terror is right in this room. Let’s do the program.”

He puffed on a cigarette and we did the program the next night.

Narrator, CBS Television, SEE IT NOW, March 9, 1954 broadcast:

CBS Television presents the distinguished reporter and news analyst, Edward R. Murrow in See It Now.

Edward R. Murrow, CBS Television, SEE IT NOW, March 9, 1954 broadcast:

Good evening. Tonight, See It Now devotes its entire half hour to a report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy told mainly in his own words and pictures.

His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.

Joseph R. McCarthy, CBS Television, SEE IT NOW, March 9, 1954 broadcast:

But they said, “oh  —it’s all right uncovering them, just don’t get rough doing it, McCarthy.”

Edward R. Murrow, CBS Television, SEE IT NOW, March 9, 1954 broadcast:

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.

Joseph Wershba, field producer SEE IT NOW:

At that point to me, he was the greatest man in America. And of heroic proportions. Because he knew that it wasn’t going to be the editor on the thing or the cameraman who was going to get his head handed to him. It was going to be Edward R. Murrow.

Narrator, Biography Channel:

Murrow sat slumped in his chair in the eerie silence of the control room, overcome by what he’d done.

Fred W. Friendly, Producer SEE IT NOW:

Truck drivers were rolling up next to Ed and said, “Good show, Ed, Good show.”

Joseph Wershba, field producer SEE IT NOW:

That fear, that bubble, that boil of fear had been burst. And now people could start talking.

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ENDS]

E MALAMA KAKOU. To Care For All.
MISSISSAUGAWATCH

Mississauga political activist, Don Barber quote, "‘It’s time to wake up and treat the election as if it matters. We have people fighting and dying for democracy in Afghanistan and here at home we’re clueless. Something is going on and it has consequences." City of Mississauga Civic Centre

“‘It’s time to wake up and treat the election as if it matters. We have people fighting and dying for democracy in Afghanistan and here at home we’re clueless. Something is going on and it has consequences.”

—Mississauga political activist, Don Barber

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