…I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge and retribution will not limp in catching up with us. Just once in awhile, let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. Let us dream to the extent of saying that on a given Sunday night, a time normally occupied by Ed Sullivan, is given over to a clinical survey on the state of American education. And a week or two later, a time normally used by Steve Allen, is devoted to a thorough-going study of American policy in the Middle East. Would the corporate image of their respective sponsors be damaged? Would the shareholders rise up in their wrath and complain? Would anything happen, other than a few million people would have received a little illumination on subjects that may well determine the future of this country – and therefore the future of the corporations?
To those who say people wouldn’t look, they wouldn’t be interested, they’re too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply — there is, in one reporter’s opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate – and yes, it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it towards those ends. Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box. Good night, and good luck.
Good Night, and Good Luck, Edward R. Murrow