The four years following the battle against Senator McCarthy, Murrow developed an enormous amount of contempt for the industry he helped create. Murrow’s superiors grew to fear some of his proposed topics for See It Now due to the usually high level of controversy surrounding most of his stories. CBS also became dictated by its advertisers in order to generate profit, and Murrow’s presence often scared advertisers from buying commercial slots during his programs. “The 1950s were characterized by a growing alienation between Murrow, CBS administrators, and sponsors, who both had come to dislike his independence, his critical broadcasts, and his critical analysis of the broadcasting industry,” (Belovari, n/a). The interest of the public often fell victim to corporate interest in the mind of Murrow during his remaining time with CBS. Murrow’s relationship with CBS, specifically head of CBS Bill Paley, deteriorated further during a quiz show scandal in which CBS’s program legitimacy came into question.
RTNDA Convention – Corporate Interest vs. Public Interest
On October 15, 1958 Murrow would deliver a speech in Chicago at the RNTDA (Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation) Convention illustrating his opinion on the past, present, and future of the industry. The cause of Murrow’s developing distaste for CBS and the industry as whole would become vividly apparent as the speech moved forward. Elaborating on his personal observations Murrow would reveal whom he thought now had complete control over the industry.
The top management of the networks, with a few notable exceptions, has been trained in advertising, research, sales or show business. But by the nature of the corporate structure, they also make the final and crucial decisions having to do with news and public affairs, (Murrow, 1958).
In brief Murrow was entirely convinced that corporate interest had come to outweigh the interest of the public. In an eerie sort of fashion his assumptions on the industry as well as his fears proved to be true or become reality. Murrow was convinced the news had become increasingly diluted due to a false perception of the public.
Sometimes there is a clash between the public interest and the corporate interest. A telephone call or a letter from the proper quarter in Washington is treated rather more seriously than a communication from an irate but not politically potent viewer. irresponsible and unwarranted utterances in an effort to temper the wind of criticism, (Murrow, 1958).
In contrast to the presumed negative connotation Murrow’s speech took in his presentation it also formed a set of a constitution-like guidelines in managing the future of journalism. Although Murrow plainly stated the vast amount of problems he saw on the horizon for the industry, he also provided possible solutions for these problems. Murrow’s career had always served as an example in maintaining a standard of ethics when it came to journalism. Murrow taught this...