. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Edward R. Murrow And The News – February 12, 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Normally I don’t focus the news of a particular day in history on the presenter, but rather the news of that day itself. But with all the recent uproar with news anchors (Brian Williams and NBC News) and the sad loss of a dedicated reporter and journalist last night (Bob Simon of CBS News), I thought I would run the news of this day in history with attention on who was perhaps the most widely respected and admired journalist in broadcast history; Edward R. Murrow. Perhaps as a tribute to the fine and dedicated work of Bob Simon, but also as a reminder that news wasn’t always treated as an afterthought or as a luxury of networks in America, but as an integral and necessary part of our culture; the sources by which informed opinions were made and where discourse was invited with an open mind.
Murrow was a nightly fixture on CBS Radio for many years. In addition to his celebrated work on then-fledgling Television, Murrow was a pioneer in broadcast journalism; nurturing and assembling a school of reporters whose work has influenced generations after them.
And this is what he sounded like – and this is what was going on, this February 12th in 1951.
The news was about Korea and the advancement of some 50,000 Communist troops along a 30 mile front, pushing back U.S. and UN forces some 7-9 miles. It was the biggest offense since November of 1950. The attack took place at night when UN planes were unable to get off the ground, due to a snowstorm. The attack was aimed at the South Korean forces, which caused them to break and flee. But the attack was taking place from all sides in an attempt to drive a wedge down the center of Korea. At last reports it was unclear whether or not the Communist forces had or had not crossed the 38th parallel.
When the reports came in of a North Korean invasion crossing the dividing line between North and South Korea, it brought a storm of protest from British Prime Minister Clement Atlee and a call for U.S. forces to bolster their numbers and call up more draftees.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Nehru said India would maintain friendly relations with both Communist China and the United States. President Truman asked Congress to authorize the shipment of some 2 million tons of grain to India, where there was a real danger of famine. Truman took note of Nehru’s stand on China and the U.S. but said the U.S. must help India with food in a “spirit of friendly aid to alleviate human suffering”.
On Capitol Hill, President Truman sent Congress the names of all five Commissioners of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, despite the fact that a Senate subcommittee had accused three of them of abusing their authority by yielding to “outside influence”.
All this, and a lot more done in the inimitable Edward R. Murrow style as presented on February 12, 1951.
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