Late Career

Immediately after World War 2, Murrow had several different job offers from academia to government. He eventually decided to stay at CBS as Vice President of CBS, Director of News and Public Affairs. This was in 1946, but by 1947, he discovered that pushing a pencil was not for him so he went back to what he

From 1947 until 1961, Murrow worked as a news man. In addition to See It Now and This I Believe, he was a news analyst for CBS News, Person to Person, CBS Reports, Small World, and more. As with everything else in the world, nothing stays the same.

Murrow had his ideas about how the news should run. It should be free from influence, from the network or sponsors, and you must always, always tell the truth. CBS corporate and sponsors chaffed at Murrow’s independence. He had no qualms about criticizing sponsors or his industry. As the television industry grew, the news divisions gave way to entertainment.

The entertainment side of the business brought in the most revenue and decisions were increasingly made based on the programming that brought in the most money. As a result, the budget for news shows shrank.

In addition, Murrow had his disagreements with other people at CBS. During the CBS quiz show scandal in the 1950s, Frank Stanton, president of CBS, compared the situation where CBS was feeding answers to contestants to the way Murrow and his team prepared for Person to Person. Stanton implied that Murrow was being dishonest in his reports. Understandably, Murrow was insulted and protested.

Murrow was reluctant to take on sponsors for many reasons, but the main reason is the possible influence sponsors might bring to bear. He believed that it was necessary to tell the truth without anyone trying to censor him. For example, when See It Now aired the Radulovich show, CBS was reluctant to air the show because ALCOA was the sponsor and ALCOA sold a lot of metal to the Air Force and Murrow was criticizing the Air Force.

As a result of his uncompromising ethics and because the news landscape was changing, Murrow saw his shows cancelled one-by-one. The final blow was his speech at the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) where he severely criticized those in his own profession. He called them complacent and accused them of using television to delude the masses. While it was OK to criticize those outside the industry, it was not OK to criticize those inside the industry.

In 1961, Murrow made the difficult decision to leave the industry handing the baton to Walter Cronkite.