9 Edward Murrow Quotes for the New Trump Twitter Era. Most are fewer than 140 characters.

Here we are in the brave new world of a Donald Trump presidency, and freedom of speech is already under attack. Journalists are scorned and new “alternative facts” are born every minute. We can all say good-bye to the measured, thoughtful and coherent sentences of Barack Obama and say hello to the monosyllabic, simple-minded ramblings of the new Commander-in-Chief.

We can also say good-bye to the ideals of freedom of speech and critical thinking embodied by American broadcast journalist Edward Murrow. His honesty and integrity inspired a generation of journalists and paved the way for modern journalism. The current political climate is especially ripe for reminding ourselves of what our democracy is supposed to be.

We’re just going to throw up some of these quotes bigly, for all to see:

“Anyone who isn’t confused, doesn’t really understand the situation.”

Memes and tweets are often too simplistic. In 2017, now more than ever, we need to remind ourselves to dive into the complexity of things and grapple with it, rather than oversimplifying and pretending that the issues are simple. We can’t criticize Trump for doing it, if we do it too.

“Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices–just recognize them.”

Thus, the need to be careful and thoughtful about our words. We’re not seeing the whole picture. We need to make sure we have a great deal of humility when giving our own opinions and assessments. Trump is often dismissive of those who challenge him. Let’s not make the same mistakes.

“The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.”

Wow. Let’s all put down our smartphones and silence Siri for a second, and think about that. You don’t have to be a Luddite to realize that technology isn’t going to solve all of our problems. In the age of Twitter, alternative facts can be around the world in a matter of minutes.

“No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.”

This is one of those Edward Murrow quotes hand-crafted for us in 2017. Our current president is undoubtedly tyrannical. However, it’s not too late. We can do something about it.

“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”

And just because you have 28 millions of followers on Twitter and bots retweet your nonsense over and over, doesn’t mean you know anything. We should never forget that lesson after having @realDonaldTrump for prez. Exhibit A, ladies and gentlemen.

“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.”

“Change We Can Believe In” and “Make America Great Again” are just slogans. To actually make change, people need to organize, petition, vote, and engage in advocacy and activism. But in order for us to be more informed about how to bring change, we need to study and learn. Memes and slogans don’t inform us. Only credible and well-researched ideas do.

“The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.”

Thank you, Mr. Murrow for explaining how we elected Trump.

“If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.”

It’s no secret that ratings drive the news. Going forward, we can learn the lesson that covering Trump 24/7 might not be a good idea.  Let’s get back to hard news and focus on the issues. If we’re overly fascinated with Trump’s tweets, we’re getting side-tracked. With that in mind, let’s end with one of the most famous Edward Murrow quotes. In 2o17, it has an even more urgent meaning.

“Good night, and good luck.”


Featured image by World’s Direction via Flickr.