I ::Heart:: Edward R. Murrow

Edward R. Murrow“Like ghosts shod in steel shoes.”

That was Edward R. Murrow, reporting from London during the Blitz, describing the sound of stoic British feet calmly making their way to bomb shelters. According to City at War: London Calling, the PBS documentary about reporters in WWII London, which aired in May, Murrow then put the microphone to the ground so that the rest of the world could hear what he heard.

I have crushes on journalists, particularly war correspondents, the way other women have crushes on movie stars. (Not that I don’t have crushes on movies stars—two in particular: David Straitharn and George Clooney*, who, coincidence?, both starred in the Murrow biopic Goodnight and Good Luck.) Partly, it’s blind admiration. Writing is hard enough to do, and then you add in bombs dropping and gunfire and things you just don’t want to see and will never end up showing the world, and on top of this, you have to write about it all quickly and with some eloquence?

I don’t know if the reporting from WWII had the same kind of sad fatalism that, understandably, hovers over the heads of today’s war correspondents in Iraq. It is such a different war. Every time I see Michael Ware reporting on CNN, I’m worried that he’s headed for a nervous breakdown. And Arwa Damon seems semi-catatonic. Goodnight and Good LuckI wonder how Murrow would have covered Iraq. What would he say about Abu Ghraib, about Fallujah, about our exhausted soldiers and the shell-shocked Iraqis? In times of darkness, the best among us find sparks of beauty; they see a single slender flower crushed in the sand and pick it up and show it to us all. They hear ghosts shod in steel shoes.

I leave you with an excerpt from Murrow’s epic fuck-you-Joe-McCarthy March 9, 1954, broadcast:

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine; and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

I ::heart:: Edward R. Murrow.

*Remind me to tell you my George Clooney story sometime.

[Author’s note: The giant cartoon Jesus hand sign, which I promised for today, will appear at another time when I have a photo to do it justice.]

17 Comments I ::Heart:: Edward R. Murrow

  1. Meg June 6, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Thanks for the tip, Miss B. I’ll add it to my Christmas-in-July list.

    Reply
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  3. Meg December 26, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Reblogged this on PIGSPITTLE OHIO and commented:

    I wrote this seven years ago but the sentiment hasn’t really changed. I’m still crushing on war correspondents, George Clooney and David Straitharn.

    Reply
  4. Marissa Bergen December 27, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Oh Meg! Lovely and educational post! Love how you introduce the idea of having Murrow cover the was in Iraq…like bringing a modernizing classics with a whole new bent! But, I found the book with the ‘deer’ scene that we were talking about a whole back. It’s called Life Drawing. Mind you, it’s just an excerpt in the book but pretty poignant. I saw it in the library recently and thought of you!

    Reply
    1. Meg January 8, 2015 at 12:00 am

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Marissa. I’m glad you liked this. And I’ll keep my eyes open for “Life Drawing.” Thanks for the tip!

      Reply
    1. Meg January 8, 2015 at 12:00 am

      Thank you!

      Reply
  5. Julie Henahan December 27, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Meg, if you haven’t read it, you should pick up Lynne Olson’s “Citizens of London”–one of the best things I’ve read about wartime London. Edward R. Murrough is one of the main figures she discusses.

    Reply
    1. Meg January 8, 2015 at 12:01 am

      That’s now going to be on my must-read list, Julie. Thanks so much for your generous time reading my posts. I really do appreciate it and so value your kind comments. Hugs to you, my friend!

      Reply
  6. Julie Henahan December 27, 2014 at 9:58 am

    And –loved this post! You have a special love for life, people and history and it comes through in your writing–always a pleasure to read!

    Reply
  7. Marcy December 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I admire reporters of old too, and feel disappointed by most modern journalism. So much of it is just gossip now. They are “reporting” in real time without any investigating or sense-making–just into their ears and out of their mics.

    Reply
    1. Meg January 8, 2015 at 12:02 am

      I know exactly what you mean, Marcy. Journalism today is, in most cases, utterly disappointing.

      Reply
  8. TriGirl December 27, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Oh wow. He did have a way with words. That last clip is just as true today; we do need more people telling us to not live in fear.

    Reply
    1. Meg January 8, 2015 at 12:03 am

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  9. marymtf January 17, 2015 at 4:21 am

    Don’t know who David Straitharn is, not a fan of George Clooney, but like what little I know about Edward R Murrow and liked your post very much, Meg.

    Reply

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