Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Excerpt reproduces a portion of a commencement address delivered by newsman Ted Koppel.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2008]
Origins: To those familiar with Ted Koppel primarily as the long-time host/moderator of ABC's late-night news program Nightline, the above-quoted excerpt might sound like an odd statement for the veteran newsman to make, especially as part of a university commencement address. But it is indeed a portion of an address he delivered during 1987 commencement ceremonies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in which his subject was the "Vannatizing" of American society
Here, in a little fuller context, is the portion of his address that contains the passage cited above:
Look at MTV or Good Morning America and watch the images and ideas flash past in a blur of impressionistic appetizers. No, there is not much room on TV for complexity. You can partake of our daily banquet without drawing on any intellectual resources; without either physical or moral discipline. We require nothing of you; only that you watch; or say that you were watching ifLast updated: 10 February 2008
No. The answer is no. Not no because it isn't cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward
Our society finds Truth too strong a medicine to digest undiluted. In its purest form Truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder; it is a hallowing reproach.
What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions, they are Commandments. Are, not were.
The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments is that they codify, in a handful of words, acceptable human behavior. Not just for then or now but for all time. Language evolves, power shifts from nation to nation, messages are transmitted with the speed of light, man erases one frontier after another; and yet we and our behavior, and the Commandments which govern that behavior, remain the same. The tension between those Commandments and our baser instincts provide the grist for journalism's daily mill. What a huge, gaping void there would be in our informational flow and in our entertainment without routine violation of the Sixth Commandment. Thou shalt not murder.
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