No one can terrorise a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices

The name Edward R. Murrow may be unfamiliar to some, but in the United States, it is warmly remembered as belonging to one of the most highly regarded radio and TV broadcasters of the 20th century.

He made his name in 1939 and 1940, risking his life by transmitting dramatic rooftop reports on the London Blitz for US radio audiences. He began broadcasting from London before the U.S. had joined the war, with the scenes he witnessed and described, making listeners aware of the grave enormity of the situation across the Atlantic.

One listener, a poet, it was as if Edward had “burned the city of London in our houses and we felt the flames that burned it.”

After the war, he showed considerable bravery by directly challenging the bullying tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1950s. At the time, this politician was aggressively investigating Americans from all walks of life, in witch-hunts aimed at exposing people as communists, or communist sympathisers.

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves,” warned the broadcaster.

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.”

He famously signed off his shows saying: “Good night and good luck,” inspiring the title of George Clooney’s 2005 biopic charting how the journalist stood up to McCarthy and ultimately brought the senator down.