CAMPAIGN 2016: Looking for a little wisdom from past leaders
Our major obligation is not
to mistake slogans for solutions.
— Edward R. Murrow, famed newscaster during the Joseph McCarthy era
TODAY MANY OF US VOTE BASED ON SLOGANS — sound bites or short promises crafted to pull us in.
Is that so bad? Is that enough?
Maybe Murrow was suggesting we shouldn't bet our future on sound bites... on a five or six word promise... or someone else's opinion.
Maybe he meant we should dig a little, ask questions, and find out about things for ourselves.
Maybe that's what Americans are obligated to do.
Edward R. Murrow (1908 – 1965) was an American broadcast journalist who came to prominence during World War II with a series of radio news broadcasts for the Columbia Broadcasting System which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States.
During the war, he assembled a team of foreign correspondents who came to be known as the Murrow Boys. They pioneered live, on-location reporting, which had never been done before and which electrified the American public.
A pioneer of television news broadcasting, Murrow produced a series of reports that helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the politician behind what was called the Red Scare, a McCarthy-led Congressional Investigation which attempted to ferret out Communists and Communist sympathizers in the 1950s. The attacks on people in government, business and the military were relentless and damaging, eventually dividing the country.
Murrow produced a half-hour broadcast using excerpts from McCarthy's own speeches. Reaction was dramatic and letters of support poured in at the rate of 15 to 1 positive to negative. The broadcast turned the tide against McCarthy and eventually led to McCarthy's censure.
Many leading journalists have long considered Murrow one of journalism's greatest figures, noting his honesty and integrity in delivering the news.