Example of questions for movie assignment for “Good Night and Good Luck”
1. What is the mood in the country Oct. 14, 1953? How has Senator Joseph
McCarthy played a role in this?
2. What do you think it was like to work in the news department of CBS in the
1950s? What are some of the scenes that show this?
3. Why did Murrow and Friendly think it was important to cover the Milo
4. What are some early signs that some at CBS don’t totally agree with what
Murrow and Friendly are doing?
5. How does the movie point out the contrast between Murrow’s “See It Now” and
his other program “Person to Person”? What does his boss mean when he says
Murrow will have to do a lot of “‘Person to Persons’ to make up for this”?
6. What is CBS boss William Paley’s first reason Murrow and Friendly shouldn’t
air the Milo Radulovich story?
7. What is the importance of the Don Hollenbeck subplot in the movie? What is
Murrow’s relationship to him? Why is the report of his death significant?
8. What is the effect of using the actual film footage of McCarthy, Radulovich,
Annie Lee Moss and others?
9. How does Murrow represent the independence of journalism despite the
forces of advertising and government which put pressure on him?
10. Do you think it is appropriate for Murrow to offer his commentary on his
10. What does the movie you about the balance between journalism and power
of government and power of media owners?
11. Murrow said: “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can
inspire. But it can only do so to the extent that humans are determined to use it
to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.” How has that
become true? In what ways can broadcast journalism still teach, illuminate and
12. Murrow said: “One of the basic problems with radio and television is that both
instruments have grown up in an incompatible combination of show business,
advertising and news... And when you get all three under one roof, the dust
never settles.” How are these issues still a threat to independence today?
13. Elder Neal A Maxwell worked in the Congress during the McCarthy Hearings
era. He said this about the end of McCarthy.
“About twenty-two years ago, the late Senator Joseph McCarthy was finally
condemned by his colleagues. I was involved in a peripheral way in that episode.
I remember, after the votes were taken, that McCarthy went off the Senate floor
into a small room with three or four reporters. I went in to watch the final scene.
The reporters, who had over the months disagreed with him, in some ways still
liked him. In their final exchanges in that room I saw how symbiotic
sensationalism can be. McCarthy had been good copy, and now it was over.
Some commentators concluded that erring politicians get their just due, that "time
wounds all heels." But I saw, too, the realities that crucial causes often fall into
the hands of those least able to champion them effectively and also that the
media use people--sometimes cruelly.”
What does this say about media ethics?