This week marks the 50th anniversary of Edward R. Murrow’s seminal address about the future of radio and television, delivered in Chicago on Oct. 15, 1958, in what is now known as the “wires and lights in a box” speech. The legendary CBS newsman warned attendees at the Radio and Television News Directors Association convention to make the most of the new electronic media, and not allow only “escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live.”
“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”
I suspect Edward R. Murrow would be deeply appalled at what passes as news and news commentary today. Then again, I think he probably had a premonition of it all crashing on down the turnpike. …
Below is a portion of that speech performed by David Strathairn as Murrow in the 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck.