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D. and I saw Network last night. I haven't seen it, other than short clips, since its original theatrical release in 1976. We just saw Good Night, and Good Luck this afternoon.
Murrow gave us a vision of what television could become.
This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.
RTNDA Convention, October 15, 1958
Network gave us a warning of what it would become. Murrow worried that television would simply "entertain, amuse and insulate". But he missed one trick. As Diane Christensen (Faye Dunaway) says, "The American people want somebody to articulate their rage for them." The public's hunger isn't simply to have their boredom amused, but to have their biases confirmed, their xenophobia stoked, their blood-lust sated.
Murrow knew how good television could be, but never imagined how bad it has become. One can only hope that this flick reminds the current generation of reporters of the history of their profession, and inspires them to speak truth to power.