Was there this much fuss when Edward R. Murrow covered the Battle of Britain from the top of a London building?

I admire NBC’s Brian Williams and his decision to cover the Iraqi War from the front lines. But, Bw_2 based upon what I’ve seen, read and heard, it appears the network’s decision to send the nightly news anchor into harm’s way may have been ratings-inspired.

If so, it’s shameful in so many ways. For one, it will really tarnish NBC’s image. For another, it will further decimate so-called ‘legitimate’ journalism’s remaining respect and credibility.

Intrepid correspondents and photojournalists have always put themselves in harm’s way to report from the front lines. So what’s so different this time around? Why are so many so obsessed with Williams’ sojourn? In my mind, it’s just another example of the superficial tabloid stories our society seems to revel in.

The war should be the news. Not the debonair ‘reporter’ who’s off to cover it. Could anyone imagine this sort of fuss when Walter Cronkite went to Vietnam or Ernie Pyle shipped off to cover WW II? Were entertainment reporters writing about Edward R. Murrow’s health and well-being when, in the midst of the nightly bombings of London in September, 1940, he signed on with the now-classic line, "This is London"?

I wish Brian Williams Godspeed. And, I wish our tabloid press would find different, more relevant items to report on.

If the late Mr. Murrow could comment on today’s coverage, I’ll bet he’d sign on by saying, "This is sleeze…"

Thanks to Gene Colter for the idea for this post.

2 thoughts on “Was there this much fuss when Edward R. Murrow covered the Battle of Britain from the top of a London building?

  1. I’m with Laura. Bob Woodruff has been very impressive and clearly receiving a lot of airtime as he draws attention to the war’s injured. It’s hard to conclude that Brian Williams’ trip is pure coincidence. Ugh.

  2. I agree that the news should be the war and the soldiers that are risking their lives everyday in Iraq. I am sure NBC is trying to keep up with the attention and ratings that Bob Woodruff’s ABC specials on his experience in Iraq have garnered. I was glad to see that Bob did focus on some of soldiers that have been injured in the war and have been sent back to the U.S. for medical attention. I expected the special to be just about him and his experience. Also, the media oftentimes will just cover those that have died, instead of those that have been injured. Although it was very sad to watch it was nice to see that some of these soldiers, that have risked everything and have come back very changed, were acknowledged and appreciated.