Movies: Before the Chatter

A new movie about the TV-news business gets the style just right but the speechifying all wrong

Edward R. Murrow had a great voice--a sincere and authoritative baritone. His speech was formal and literate. He was a liberal in the great American tradition--less an ideologue than a champion of fair play and common decency. The first thought you have, watching Good Night, and Good Luck in the age of Limbaugh and O'Reilly, is one of intense nostalgia. By the standards of modern television--or even television in his time--Ed Murrow was an imposing figure.

Disappointingly, director George Clooney's movie about Murrow is, at best, unimposing. Focusing on Murrow's conflict with Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose campaign against an alleged domestic communist...

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