Wires and lights in a box

From Edward R. Murrow’s October 15, 1958 Speech to the Radio-Television News Directors Association:

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.

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.

Go see Good Night, and Good Luck, which tells the tale of Murrow’s battle against McCarthyism with elegance and beauty.

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