TV news icon Ted Koppel built his legendary career on telling it like it is.
You may not always LIKE what he has to say… or agree with his politics… but his cutting questions and sharp observations turned “Nightline” into must-see TV for decades.
Now, the retired newsman has turned that same sharp eye on President Donald Trump.
Not his policies or personality.
Koppel would almost certainly have some problems with those (he was a key part of the liberal media establishment, after all).
No, he’s looking just at Trump’s observations about the “fake news” media – and the president’s complaint that they’re not there to report on the news and his administration.
They’re out to get him.
“He’s not mistaken when so many of the liberal media, for example, described themselves as belonging to the Resistance,” Koppel said during a discussion this month at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Then, he went on an absolute tear – slamming the “reporters” who also call themselves “resistance.”
What does that mean? That’s not said by people who consider themselves reporters, objective reporters of facts. That’s the kind of language that’s used by people who genuinely believe, and I rather suspect with some justification, that Donald Trump is bad for the United States and they’re betting that the sooner he’s out of office the better they will like it. Whether that happens by virtue of indictment, impeachment or election, we’ll see.
He concluded that the media overall today “are not the reservoir of objectivity that I think we were.”
For once, someone willing to speak the truth!
His honest words come months after he called out cable news… right to their face.
“CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump,” he straight-up told CNN’s Brian Stelter.
Stelter tried to object, so Koppel did what he spent his career doing.
He masterfully steered the conversation in a new direction – which then perfectly illustrated his point.
“Let’s get away from CNN; sensitive subject,” he cracked. “Let’s go to MSNBC. Is there a moment of the day when they’re not focusing on Donald Trump, or some intimately related subject?”
Of course, there isn’t. Not on MSNBC. Not on CNN. Not on Fox. Not on any of them.
Yet they all insist they’re just reporting the news – and that they cover Trump fairly.
And Koppel sees right through them.
In his newest takedown, he went even further and said the New York Times and Washington Post of today are NOT the papers they were when he was a young newsman half a century ago.
“We’re talking about organizations that I believe have, in fact, decided as organizations that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States,” he said, referring specifically to the Times and Post.
He warned that newspapers today are veering dangerously away from facts and information and into the territory of punditry and advocacy… but disguising it as news.
“We have things appearing on the front page of the New York Times right now that never would have appeared 50 years ago,” he said. “Analysis, commentary on the front page.”
And, he added, a few words that NEVER would’ve seen print in the past, including a certain word Trump used on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tapes that leaked just before the 2016 election.
“I will not offend any of you here by using the language, but you know exactly what words were used,” Koppel told the audience. “They were spelled on the front page of the New York Times. I turned to my wife and I said, ‘The Times is absolutely committed to making sure that this guy does not get elected.’”
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News.