Appreciating all that makes America special

TV Show: See It Now

Although See It Now established a lasting tradition of excellence for broadcast journalism, it disillusioned Edward R. Murrow because of sponsor and network interference. Uploaded by

As a brand new medium, everything about television had to be invented from scratch. One logical and popular idea was to adapt radio programs for this new, visual medium. So it was that Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly adapted their Hear It Now broadcast to TV’s See It Now. In the process, they created the format for television documentaries that lives on today in programs such as 60 Minutes.

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Though it lasted for six years, See It Now is remembered more for its challenging content than for its popularity. The show took on such topics as the soldiers’ experience in the Korean War, the link between cigarettes and lung cancer, and the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s. It was the program’s confrontations with Wisconsin demagogue Sen. Joseph McCarthy that cemented its reputation for serious journalism, a reputation CBS News would carry until Dan Rather became its shame.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications describes the show’s impact: “See It Now (1951-57), one of television’s earliest documentary series, remains the standard by which broadcast journalism is judged for its courage and commitment.” The program earned four Emmy Awards and one Peabody Award.

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