V's Speech vs. Murrow's Speech
Key Differences and Similarities
On the other hand, Murrow's speech is a bold move to tell the truth to the people working in the news industry about what their work is doing. "We have built an allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information," Murrow observes. An allergy is an unnecessary reaction to something believed to be harmful but is not. Through this the people working in the media realize that their efforts to keep the American people shut out from knowing the truth is a lost cause doing more harm than good. Murrow poses the question: "Would anything happen... [if Americans] received a little illumination on subjects that may...[decide] the future of this country... and therefore the future of the corporations?" Through this Murrow invokes the greater well being of the corporations themselves. By telling them that their efforts to keep the people of America complacent, they are hurting the futures of their own companies, they better understand the reality of what they are doing to our country.
In both speeches, the audience is to blame for the situation they are in, but they did it with a clouded judgement. Murrow claims, "...unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us... [we] may see a totally different picture too late." The reporters in the media do not realize what their efforts are doing to the American people. Although they know what they are doing, and because of that it is the news reporters' fault, but they are not doing it knowingly because , they do not know what the end result is going to be. V explains to the people of London, "if [they are] looking for the guilty, [they] need only look into a mirror... [he knows they] were afraid...War, terror, disease." The people of London turned to the Chancellor in a time of desperate need. It was their fault, but they did not know what else to do, because their fear is what made them do it.
Another similarity between the speeches is that they went against the norms of society and put the speakers at risk. The night before his speech, V destroys, "the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten," and puts himself at risk for execution by broadcasting the speech. In a dystopian society no one would dare to speak out against the government and committing crimes like blowing up a building are unthinkable. Because V does both of these things, he is not only going against what is widely accepted in his society, sitting back and not doing anything about the government, but also putting himself at risk for execution. Edward Murrow is also in a similar predicament when he says, "television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us." Making a statement like this during the Red Scare, an era in which all accusations are made through disillusionment by the media and Joseph McCarthy has America on its toes, puts Murrow at risk for being called a communist sympathizer. As a result, he is one of few in the nation who would speak up to this because no one is willing to risk being accused as a communist sympathizer and be tried and jailed, which could have been a likely outcome for Murrow. In both speeches, the condition of society is deteriorating and the people's complacency with the situation they are in is making it worse. Nobody is motivated to change what is going on, and part of that is because the people don't realize how bad the situation they are living in is.
What Are They Warning Us About?
Their warning is very relevant to the world today because there is corruption rampant in governments all over the world, with the US being no exception. Congressmen take bribes, break the laws that they instate, and do things for personal gain rather than for the greater good of the people. For example, lobbyists get members of Congress to pass laws that loosen environmental regulations. The Congressmen do this to get more money for their elections, and they do not think twice about the fact that they are endangering future generations to a world that is wrecked by global warming and it's consequences. Similarly, the media is reverting back to what Murrow was complaining about. Nowadays, TV shows and news content is made to attract audience and entertain people, rather than provide valuable information. For example, National Geographic used to be a TV channel where people could learn in-depth information about animals and the world around us. Now, they have simplified the news to where everyone can understand it easily and is in many ways more entertaining, but it does not give us any real information. The news uses headlines that surprise the audience and get attention, because that is what the media wants, and nowadays, all the media wants.