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Ted Koppel Quotes

Edward James Martin Koppel

Ted Koppel quotes: the Nightline O.G.’s wisest words.

“There’s no mystery here.  You know what to do.  Now go out and do it!”

“Pessimists calculate the odds.  Optimists believe they can overcome them.”

“Set your sights beyond what you can see.  There is true majesty in the concept of an unseen power which can neither be measured nor weighed.”

“You can almost measure where you are in life by the degree to which you have begun looking back rather than ahead.”

“The responsibility to effect change remains, as it always has been, an individual responsibility.”

“To face despair and not give in to it?  That’s courage.”

“If we are going to deal intelligently with the problems we confront, we need time to pause, to consider and reflect.”

“Leave your mind open to a point of view that opposes your own.”

“If we worry only about ourselves, we will become irrelevant.  Your challenge is to turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom.  You can know what is happening in every corner of the world, and with your particular skills and talents, with the wealth and technology and influence available to you at this time and in this place, you can be a force for good.  What a challenge, what a joy.  Now go do it.”

“At this critical juncture in your lives, let me urge you – no, let me implore you – to want more.  More objectivity, more tolerance for views that differ from your own, more time to reflect and consider.”

“If we’re able to identify our own ignorance, we can identify someone else’s expertise.  We learn how to listen to each other.  And that is the foundation of human understanding.”

“There’s harmony and inner peace to be found in following a moral compass that points in the same direction regardless of fashion or trend.”

“Aspire to decency.  Practice civility toward one another.  Admire and emulate ethical behavior wherever you find it.  Apply a rigid standard of morality to your lives; and if, periodically, you fail ­- as you surely will – adjust your lives, not the standards.”

“There are some people who are more academically gifted and others who are more practically gifted, but the one doesn’t supersede the other.  And we have to find the way of getting back together again, of treating one another with respect.”

“Terrorism is simply the weapon by which the weak engage the strong.”

“History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions.”

“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 howling reproach.”

“Emotions get in the way but they don’t pay me to start crying at the loss of 269 lives.  They pay me to put some perspective on the situation.”

“The responsibility that I feel is to do as good a job as a journalist as I can possibly do.”

“The less you say, the more you stand for.”

“I have the necessary lack of tact.”

“In the days of Caesar, kings had fools and jesters.  Now network presidents have anchormen.”

“Journalists should take a complex issue and reduce it to a fairly simple level, so that it can be understood by a great many people without in any way distorting the reality of the story.  That’s good journalism.”

“Journalism has become a sort of competitive screeching: what is trivial – but noisy and immediate – takes precedence over important matters that develop over time.”

“You know, for good or ill, we live in an age of Twitter and Facebook and all of the vast variety of media that now make information instantaneously available.”

“What social media does is give all of us the opportunity to say anything at any time at any length about anybody, without regard to fact-checking or its accuracy.  That’s something totally new.”

“We have to be careful not to get into the prophecy business too much and just report.  Don’t let your affection for a neat turn of phrase move you away from just covering the straight facts.”

“If there’s one thing that a lifetime in journalism develops for you, it is an excellent bullsh*t detector.”

“More than 4,000 programs produced and consumed.  Some of them were pretty good, a great many of them were forgettable; but a handful may even be worth a book.”

“The truth of it is that some of you were harboring uncharitable thoughts from the first moment you saw me.  Some of you were thinking: ‘He’s a lot shorter than I thought he was.’  While others among you are still trying to figure out if this is my real hair. Think about it.  You’re smart people.  If it weren’t real, don’t you think I could afford to buy a better-looking rug than this?”

“Never doubt for a moment the greatness of this country’s heritage; or the generosity of the opportunities it still provides.”

“What every new year has that recommends it over the old one is the promise of uncertainty.  We know what happened last year.  There is always the possibility that we will learn from our mistakes, tighten our abdominals, stop smoking, exercise greater patience, and dedicate our lives to the selfless pursuit of man’s greater good.  There is also the off-chance that pigs will fly.”

“It becomes increasingly easy, as you get older, to drown in nostalgia.”

“It’s been a joy and a privilege to occupy this chair for the past 26 years.  I understand how many people grit their teeth on the way to work every morning.  To have had more than 42 years now of almost always being able to go to work with a sense of excitement and anticipation makes me among the most fortunate of people.”

“My function is, as objectively and accurately as I can, to present reality to people out there, and doing that as quickly as we do is quite difficult enough, thank you.”

“There’s this dance of death that’s going on between President Trump and particularly, cable networks.  He can’t live without them and they can’t live without him.”

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