Good Night, and Good Luck

Good Night, and Good Luck Irony

Kent Cigarettes (Situational Irony)

At one point in the film we see an advertisement for Kent cigarettes in which a spokesperson says that he knows the people who watch this program aren't swayed by advertising. He makes a big to-do about the fact that they are smart and aware, and are not easily manipulated by marketing, which is why they should buy Kent cigarettes. Kent cigarettes, the man argues, are for people who are sensible and not easily manipulated. This advertisement is ironic, because whoever watches the advertisement and feels persuaded by it is being influenced by advertising.

Don Kills Himself Before McCarthy Questioning (Dramatic Irony)

In a particularly action-packed scene in the film, a journalist comes in and informs everyone that McCarthy is being questioned, and the military has filed a lawsuit against him. This means that McCarthy's power is dwindling and the news team's work likely had an effect on his downfall. While Murrow is pleased at first, moments later he receives word that Don Hollenbeck, another CBS newsman who was getting attacked by McCarthy and his followers, has killed himself. This situation is an instance of dramatic irony, in that Don killed himself without knowing that the following day, his critics would begin to lose power. While we and the other newsmen know that Don could have been vindicated had he stayed alive long enough to see McCarthy taken down, Don has no idea, because he commits suicide before he can learn.

The Wershba's Marriage (Dramatic Irony & Situational Irony)

Throughout the movie, we know that Joe and Shirley Wershba are married, but because it is against network policy, they keep it a secret. Thus, there is a disconnect between what the characters know and our knowledge of the Wershba's secret union. This all reverses, however, when Sig informs the couple that everyone knows that they are married, and has known for some time. Dramatic irony turns to situational irony, as the Wershbas realize that they were never actually keeping a secret at all.

The Phones Were Off (Situational Irony)

After Murrow's segment attacking McCarthy directly, everyone sits expectantly waiting for the phones in the newsroom to start ringing. The phones ringing will signify that people tuned in and want to correspond about the segment. For a moment, not one phone in the studio rings and there is complete silence. "Maybe nobody watched," says Murrow, dejectedly. Suddenly, a young assistant chimes in, saying, "Do you want me to turn the phones back on?" Evidently, they are still off, and no one turned them back on. What had seemed like a much more dramatic situation is diffused by the realization that a young inexperienced employee forgot to turn the phones back on.