It may read like a thorough dismantling of George Clooney's new film Good Night and Good Luck, about CBS News broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, but it's actually Jack Shafer taking a mallet to a plaster saint, then stomping on the shattered pieces.
The verdict of his two-part Slate piece comes at the very end:
If I judge it correctly, Good Night, and Good Luck intends to serve as a parable for our times and not a history lesson. Its makers want us to find contemporary "resonance" in the film and conclude that, compared to the giants of 1954, modern journalists have been cowed by those in political power. What a facile, Hollywood cliche. Journalism has improved vastly since 1954, certainly eclipsing the likes of Edward R. Murrow's overrated TV output, and today's reporters are more independent and willing to confront presidential administrations and powerful political figures than Murrow and his boys ever were.
The worst bane of Hollywood was always its insufferable nostalgia.