Edward R. Murrow Quotes

Edward Roscoe Murrow, 1908 – 1965

Born: 25 April 1908, Polecat Creek, Guilford County, North Carolina
Died: 27 April 1965, Pawling, Dutchess County, New York

Born to Quaker parents who lived in a primitive log cabin, the family moved to Blanchard, Washington six years later. Murrow graduated from high school at tiny Edison, then went to Washington State College at Pullman, majoring in speech and graduating in 1930. He moved to New York where he worked at the Institute of International Education until 1935 when he started at CBS. He headed CBS’ operations in Europe starting in 1937 but didn’t actually go on the air until the Anschluss, Hitler’s annexation of Austria. He organized an unprecedented radio report featuring reporters in six cities. From then through the war, it was Murrow’s voice that America turned to for news from Europe. As television news began in the early 1950s Murrow produced special reports and editorials for CBS, creating the weekly See it Now in 1951 and Person to Person in 1953. His 1954 coverage of Senator Joseph McCarthy broke the Wisconsin senator’s momentum attacking the “red scare”. He left CBS after personal conflicts with CBS chairman Bill Paley, John F. Kennedy tapped him to head the United States Information Agency. Lyndon Johnson asked him to stay on but he declined based on health, three packs of Camels a day had caught up with him and cost him a lung two years before his death. Ironically, See it Now had been the first television source to cover the health risks of smoking.

Edward R. Murrow quotes:

A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.
    Edward R. Murrow

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
    Edward R. Murrow

A reporter is always concerned with tomorrow. There’s nothing tangible of yesterday. All I can say I’ve done is agitate the air ten or fifteen minutes and then boom – it’s gone.
    Edward R. Murrow

A satellite has no conscience.
    Edward R. Murrow – On receiving the “Family of Man” Award (1964)

After last night’s debate, the reputation of Messieurs Lincoln and Douglas is secure.
    Edward R. Murrow – On the televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon (26 September 1960)

All I can hope to teach my son is to tell the truth and fear no man.
    Edward R. Murrow – Speech to his See It Now staff (9 March 1954)

Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.
    Edward R. Murrow – regarding Vietnam

As I walked down to the end of the barracks, there was applause from the men too weak to get out of bed. It sounded like the hand clapping of babies; they were so weak.
    Edward R. Murrow – Broadcast from Buchenwald (15 April 1945)

Berlin was a kind of orchestrated hell, a terrible symphony of light and flame.
    Edward R. Murrow

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.
    Edward R. Murrow – omments after President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address

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 – Speech to Radio and Television News Directors convention at Chicago (15 October 1958)

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices – just recognize them.
    Edward R. Murrow – Television broadcast, (31 December 1955)

Except for those who think in terms of pious platitudes or dogma or narrow prejudice (and those thoughts we aren’t interested in), people don’t speak their beliefs easily, or publicly.
    Edward R. Murrow – This I Believe (1951)

Fame is morally neutral.
    Edward R. Murrow

He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.
    Edward R. Murrow – On Winston Churchill in a CBS broadcast (30 November 1954)

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