Guardian column: Good Night, and Good Luck

Here’s my latest Guardian column. This week, it’s a rewrite of my review of Good Night, and Good Luck, the movie about Edward R Murrow: in the Guardian; on Buzzmachine.

  • Michael Zimmer

    Curious: were you able to retain copyright of the column from the Guardian in order to post it to your site?

  • David

    “Good Night, and Good Luck”

    seem like parting words from the moron in chief to uncle karl as he rides off into the sunset on a Scooter.

  • Mike


    After reading your piece, I think you make a great deal of sense. The media should declare their position. To many on the Left, they can get very worked up over Fox’s calling themselves “Fair and Balanced”. And to conservatives, it is astounding to hear CNN as a network and shows like Chris Matthews to call themselves “objective”. Everyone already knows their position. Sometimes, it smells. I don’t mind someone being biased so long as they don’t deny it. I’m probably not alone.

    If FOX, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC would “come out of the closet” and admit their obvious bias, I think much of American “angst” would quietly go away. So much of blogging is spent arguing about this.

    Let’s forget the finger pointing, say it out aloud, and then articles could correctly say, for example, “the liberal CNN says…”, or “the conservative FOX News has found out that…”, etc. No more of the “we’re objective, they are not” BS.

  • Ravo

    Apparently earnings at The New York Times Company are down more than 50 percent this quarter.

    The following is an excerpt from:

    I emboldened the important questions it asks.
    The Boston Globe, which is owned by The New York Times, has one conservative columnist and 10 liberal ones. So why would any conservative bother with the paper?

    Over at the Washington Post, an editor named Marie Arana criticized her own paper saying: “The elephant in the newsroom is our narrowness. Too often, we wear liberalism on our sleeve and we are intolerant of other lifestyles and opinions … if you work here, you must be one of us. You must be liberal, progressive, a Democrat.”

    So why would any Republican buy The Washington Post?

  • Jeff, appreciate Nick Denton is your friend, but he doesn’t speak for all bloggers, at least not the ones I read, when he says: “We don’t give a fuck.”

    That’s his viewpoint, a moronic viewpoint in my opinion.

  • Noel: Blame me for that. And I will, in turn, blame the limitations of print. I made it clearer in my original post that Nick was talking about the story about Gawker Media; it was hard to get that background across in a shorter space. But a poor workman blames his tools. It’s my fault.

  • I was sorry after I’d made my post that I’d only mentioned the one thing I didn’t like since the majority of the article was bang on the money. Oh well, that’s what you get for hitting post instead of preview.

  • Gee it’s great to read someone with a sense of the history and the world. Thanks for the review Jeff.

    You write “This worship of objectivity did not overtake British journalism.” I wonder (and would like to know) if the worship of journalists did not overtake British journalism as it did in America.

    In many trips to Australia I noticed they had a tradition of “taking the piss” out of fellow media figures. They would criticize and poke fun at their anchors, columnists etc. Is that also true in the UK? I’ve heard it is.

    I don’t remember any broadcasters “taking the piss” out of our media figures in the 70s or 80s. They were treated like precious icons and never questioned on any of the big three networks. (I do remember John Simon writing a wickedly funny critique of Barbara Walters’ interview with Jimmy Carter but that was an exception.) In America we were far more reverant about our journos… at least that’s my memory.

  • Laurence, “taking the piss” out of everyone is a revered national pastime in the UK, but I don’t think reporters come in for it as much as politicians and icons. I’ve been living here for almost four years now and there’s a different sense of humor than there is in the States. Don’t know if you’ve seen ‘Spitting Image’, ‘Yes Minister’, ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’, ‘Lenny Henry’, ‘The Kumars’ or ‘The Keith Barrett Show’ (to name a few) – all hilarious shows designed to take the piss out of famous people.

    In America, it’s “a strong man doesn’t cry.” In the UK, it’s “a strong man can take a joke,” though no one can beat the Australians for a healthy sense of perspective.

  • My grandfather knew Murrow and worked for him for years, but never mentioned it to me. After the war he was a theatrical lighting electrician; Murrow (CBS) employed him on contract work for remote shoots in Manhattan, most often for “Person to Person”. (Back in the 50s, setting up for a remote, indoor TV shoot was a very substantial undertaking.) I found out about all this when one of my uncles brought it up at the funeral.

    Funny thing: my grandfather often spoke about Dorothy Kilgallen, and it turns out he met her while working for Murrow. Kilgallen was a far, far more important media personality than Murrow and of greater impact, Murrow hagiographies notwithstanding.

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