A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Two silkworms were in a race. They ended up in a tie” (6/26)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/26)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/26)
“What is the color of the wind?"/"Blew.” (6/26)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/26)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from March 25, 2015
“He cast down ten commandments. The two most important are…” (TV news joke)

American journalist and historian David Halberstam told a town meeting at Yale University in November 1974 that television condenses the news. If Moses had received the Ten Commandments in the television age, only two commandments would have been included in the new report. The TV report would have begun:

“Moses today gave the Ten Commandments, the two most important of which were...”

Halberstam, writing in The Atlantic in 2009, called this “an insiders’ joke at CBS News.”


Wikipedia: David Halberstam
David Halberstam (April 10, 1934 – April 23, 2007) was an American journalist and historian, known for his early work on the Vietnam War, his work on politics, history, the Civil Rights Movement, business, media, American culture, and his later sports journalism. He won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1964.

6 November 1974, Boston (MA) Herald American, “Gay Groups Exerts TV Pressure” by Anthony LaCamera, pg. 37, col. 7:
On Channel 2’s National Town Meeting Program, taped last Sunday at Yale University and scheduled for tonight at 10, Pulitzer Prize-winning author-journalist David Halberstam observes that, if Moses had announced the Ten Commandments in this electronic age, television newscasts would squeeze in just enough time to present two of them. A commentator, Halberstam speculated, would put it this way: “Moses today gave the Ten Commandments, the two most important of which were...”

Google News Archive
10 July 1975, The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, FL), “We Must Not Let Crime Message Die” by James J. Kilpatrick, pg. 12-A, col. 4:
One is reminded of David Halberstam’s speculation on how TV would have covered Moses at Mount Sinai: “He cast down ten commandments. The two most important are...”

Google Books
America Inside Out
By David Schoenbrun
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1984
Pg. 347:
There was a joke current in the newsroom in those days that if there had been television when Moses came down from Sinai, the lead sentence would have been, “Moses came down from the mountain today with Ten Commandments, the two most important of which are...”

The Atlantic
David Halberstam on Walter Cronkite
“He liked, indeed loved, being Walter Cronkite, being around all those celebrities, but it was as if he could never quite believe that he was a celebrity himself.”

JUL 18 2009, 11:47 AM ET
(...)
The news show was like putting the New York Times on a postage stamp. An insiders’ joke at CBS News was that if Moses handed down the Ten Commandments, the lead would be, “Moses today came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments, the two most important of which were…”

NUVO
NUVO at 25: Mike Ahern’s take
Posted By Mike Ahern on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 12:43 PM
(...)
Sometimes, when I consider how underserved much of the city has been by the mainstream media, I think of an old joke that has made the rounds in television newsrooms for years, a joke that addresses the problem of how time constraints force TV reporters to condense their stories to just the basics. The joke goes like this: Moses comes down from the mountain holding a tablet containing the Ten Commandments and the first person he runs into is a television reporter, who then informs his audience that “Moses came down from the mountain holding the ten commandments, the two most important of which are ...”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRadio/Television • Wednesday, March 25, 2015 • Permalink