American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"good night and good luck" (2005)


Senator Joseph McCarthy Responds to Edward Murrow on CBS's See It Now

Audio mp3 delivered by Joseph McCarthy


Murrow: One month ago tonight we presented a report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. We labeled it as controversial.  Most of that report consisted of words and pictures of the Senator. At that time we said, "If the Senator believes we have done violence to his words or pictures, if he desires to speak to answer himself an opportunity would be afforded him on this program." The Senator sought the opportunity, asked for a delay of three weeks because he said he was very busy and wished adequate time to prepare his reply. We agreed. We placed no restrictions on the manner or method of the presentation of his reply and we suggested that we would not take time to comment on this particular program.  Here now is Senator Joseph R. McCarthy junior senator from Wisconsin.

McCarthy: Good evening. Mr. Edward R. Murrow, Educational Director of the Columbia Broadcasting System, devoted his program to an attack on the work of the United States Senate Investigating Committee, and on me personally as its chairman. Now over the past four years he has made repeated attacks upon me and those fighting communists. Now, of course neither Joe McCarthy nor Edward R. Murrow is of any great importance as individuals. We are only important in our relation to the great struggle to preserve our American liberties.

Now ordinarily, ordinarily I would not take time out from the important work at hand to answer Murrow.  However, in this case I feel justified in doing so because Murrow is a symbol, the leader, and the cleverest of the jackal pack, which is always found at the throat of anyone who dares to expose individual communists and traitors.  I am compelled by the facts to say to you that Mr. Edward R. Murrow, as far back as 20 years ago, was engaged in propaganda for communist causes; for example, the Institute of International Education of which he was the Acting Director, was chosen to act as a representative by a soviet agency to do a job which would normally be done by the Russian secret police. 

Now, Mr. Murrow, by his own admission, was a member of the IWW -- that's The Industrial Workers of the World, a terrorist organization cited as a subversive by an Attorney General of the United States. Now, Mr. Murrow said on this program -- and I quote -- he said: "The actions the Junior Senator from Wisconsin had given considerable comfort to the enemy." That is the language of our statute of treason, rather strong language. If I am giving comfort to our enemies I ought not to be in the Senate.  If, on the other hand, Mr. Murrow is giving comfort to our enemies he ought not to be brought into the homes of millions of Americans by the Columbia Broadcasting System.

And I want to assure you that I will not be deterred by the attacks of the Murrows, the Lattimores, the Fosters, the Daily Worker or the Communist Party itself. Now I make no claim to leadership. In complete humility, I do ask you and every American who loves this country to join with me.

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