Edward R. Murrow

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    • Edward R. Murrow: When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.

    • Edward R. Murrow: The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.

    • Edward R. Murrow: The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.

    • Edward R. Murrow: Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, "When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." The trouble with television is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival.

    • Edward R. Murrow: This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.

    • Edward R. Murrow: We are to a large extent an imitative society.

    • Edward R. Murrow: We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But 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, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.

    • Edward R. Murrow: Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information.

    • Edward R. Murrow: Do not be deluded into believing that the titular heads of the networks control what appears on their networks. They all have better taste. All are responsible to stockholders, and in my experience all are honorable men. But they must schedule what they can sell in the public market.

    • Edward R. Murrow: I am frightened by the imbalance, the constant striving to reach the largest possible audience for everything; by the absence of a sustained study of the state of the nation.

    • Edward R. Murrow: If radio news is to be regarded as a commodity, only acceptable when saleable, then I don't care what you call it— I say it isn't news.

    • Edward R. Murrow: Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes for one week of all three networks, they will there find recorded in black and white, or color, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live.

    • Edward R. Murrow: It is not necessary to remind you that the fact that your voice is amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other does not confer upon you greater wisdom or understanding than you possessed when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other. All of these things you know.

    • Edward R. Murrow: This just might do nobody any good. At the end of this discourse a few people may accuse this reporter of fouling his own comfortable nest, and your organization may be accused of having given hospitality to heretical and even dangerous thoughts.

    • Edward R. Murrow: The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it— and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves." Good night, and good luck.

    • Edward R. Murrow: This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy's methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

    • Edward R. Murrow: We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men— not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

    • Edward R. Murrow: We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

    • Edward R. Murrow: We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.

    • Edward R. Murrow: No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly.

    • Edward R. Murrow: The only thing that counts is the right to know, to speak, to think— that, and the sanctity of the courts. Otherwise it's not America.

    • Edward R. Murrow: If none of us ever read a book that was "dangerous," had a friend who was "different," or joined an organization that advocated "change," we would all be just the kind of people Joe McCarthy wants.

    • Edward R. Murrow: No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.

    • Edward R. Murrow: We hardly need to be reminded that we are living in an age of confusion—a lot of us have traded in our beliefs for bitterness and cynicism or for a heavy package of despair, or even a quivering portion of hysteria. Opinions can be picked up cheap in the market place while such commodities as courage and fortitude and faith are in alarmingly short supply.

    • Edward R. Murrow: We cannot make good news out of bad practice.

    • Edward R. Murrow: Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.

    • Edward R. Murrow: The politician is … trained in the art of inexactitude. His words tend to be blunt or rounded, because if they have a cutting edge they may later return to wound him.

    • Edward R. Murrow: The politician in my country seeks votes, affection and respect, in that order…. With few notable exceptions, they are simply men who want to be loved.

    • Edward R. Murrow: Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices— just recognize them.

    • Edward R. Murrow: If we confuse dissent with disloyalty— if we deny the right of the individual to be wrong, unpopular, eccentric or unorthodox— if we deny the essence of racial equality then hundreds of millions in Asia and Africa who are shopping about for a new allegiance will conclude that we are concerned to defend a myth and our present privileged status. Every act that denies or limits the freedom of the individual in this country costs us the ... confidence of men and women who aspire to that freedom and independence of which we speak and for which our ancestors fought.

    • Edward R. Murrow: (regular sign-off from his show) Good night, and good luck.