Legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow, and one of the most trusted journalists in broadcast history, developed “This I Believe” a very inspirational and popular show on the CBS Radio Network that ran from 1951 to 1955. Murrow asked people (famous and everyday folk) to write a short essay (about 600 words) expressing their own personal beliefs (rather than religious dogma) about what inspires them. Dan Gediman and Jay Allison revived the show on NPR where the popular show ran from 2005 and 2009. The program is now featured on Bob Edwards Weekend on Sirius FM. The program has inspired several collections of essays from that show. Simon and Schuster published the best-selling This I Believe: Written for and with a foreword by Edward R. Murrow in 1952. Subsequently, Gediman and Allison published four different collections of “This I Believe” essays between 2006 to 2011. Bookshelf presents one of the essays here.
“Because of the principle that a calm sea and prosperous voyage do not make news but a shipwreck does, most circulated news is bad news. The badness of it is publicized, and the negative publicity attracts more of the same through repetition and imitation. But good can be as communicable as evil, and that is where kindness and compassion come into play. So long as conscionable and caring people are around, so long as they are not muted or exiled, so long as they remain alert in thought and action, there is a chance for contagions of the right stuff, whereby democracy becomes no longer a choice of lesser evils, whereby the right to vote is not betrayed by staying away from the polls, whereby the freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, and dissent are never forsaken.”
From the essay “Good Can be as Communicable as Evil” by Norman Corwin, professor of writing and journalism at University of Southern California, and is recognized for producing the radio show “On a Note of Triumph” in 1945. The essay appears in This I Believe (2006).
For further reading: This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (2006)