V's Speech vs. Murrow's Speech

Key Differences and Similarities

Their Purposes

The purpose of V's speech is to convince the people of London that they need to stand up against the government. V explains that "where once [they] had the freedom to object, to think and speak as [they] saw fit, [they] now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing [their] conformity and soliciting [their] submission." In doing this he shows them how they are oppressed and have no reason to not stand up. He also tells them that "fear got the best of [them] and in [their] panic [they] turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler." The people of London will now be convinced that they did not make this decision in their right minds. But because they made a mistake, they have to go back and fix it, which would mean uprising.

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.


A key difference between V's speech and Edward Murrow's speech is their attitude towards the establishment. V expresses his desire to give, "Parliament... a fifth of November that shall never, every be forgot." He hopes to completely overturn the current government. V is focused on fixing problems with the government and is completely anti-establishment. Murrow is less assertive, as he asks: "Would anything happen [if] a few million people...received a little illumination on subjects that may well determine the future of this country- and therefore the future of the corporations?" A key point in his quote is the fact that he indirectly says that the broadcasting corporations should stay there, making him not completely against the establishment. He believes that they are still the tool that can empower the people, and would be capable of doing great good if they knew better. V, on the other hand, sees no hope for the current government, and as the audience sees by the end of the movie, the only solution is to kill the men who lead it.

What Are They Warning Us About?

In their respective speeches, V and Murrow are giving the audience stark reminders to go against complacency. They need to be willing to look around, not settle for what they have, and do what they think is right. V makes this almost a key point in his speech by stating, "I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine - the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition." He immediately calls out the audience for being content with living the same, monotone, repetitious life. Murrow does likewise, as he points out that, "We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have built an allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information." We as Americans had become content with what we had, and no one wanted to inch outside their comfort zone for the greater good of America.

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.