Iconic CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow was born 100 years ago today. Though he lived to be only 57, his legend looms large still.
An honored figure even for Walter Cronkite — a man many consider a legend himself. “Edward R. Murrow was a friend whom I greatly admired,” Cronkite tells TVNewser. It was Murrow who recruited Cronkite to CBS News in 1950.
Cronkite says Murrow “was consistent in holding to the tenets of impeccable journalism” and “became the gold standard of journalism”.
A standard set during a pioneering broadcasting career that included the famous See It Now and Person to Person TV programs. But Murrow earned his stripes in radio, filing historic reports during World War Two and the London Blitz.
His signature lines — “This is London” and “Good night, and good luck” — became classics. The quintessential phrases still reverberate today: MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, for example, signs off each night with “Good night, and good luck” in tribute.
“The entirety of Murrow’s career,” Olbermann tells TVNewser, “testified to the fact that he was beholden, not to the ratings, not to his employers, not to his own self-interests, but to the truth and to the public good. It must have been rewarding beyond measure to find his ratings, his employers, and his self-interests served as a byproduct of his dedication to what was truly important.
“I quote his sign-off each night not because I have any right to claim it,” Olbermann continues, “but for the same reason the show begins with the theme music from The Huntley-Brinkley Report: television news needs to aspire, whenever and wherever possible, and to whatever degree possible, to uphold the standards of those men whose memories are evoked, either by a passage from Beethoven, or the mere words ‘good night, and good luck.’”
Edward R. Murrow is the focus of a special discussion program tomorrow at Washington, DC’s Newseum. Among the panelists: Marvin Kalb, the last CBS News correspondent Murrow ever hired. TVNewser will be at the event — we’ll have full coverage tomorrow…