An interview with Ted Koppel, a favorite former journalist on the liberal left was brought to light by NewsBusters Monday. Like most people reading the article, I was taken aback by Koppel’s honesty about the current state of political reporting, especially by the Establishment media. It ain’t good.
The interesting part is that Koppel was interviewed by Marvin Kalb at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace back on March 7 and the interview is just now seeping into public awareness. It’s not really surprising, of course, that a conservative media watch site like MRC/NewsBusters broke the story because Koppel is agreeing with one part of Trump’s criticism of the press and most news outlets have no desire to cover a story like that. Koppel is seen as wise and respected by those outlets. His sin is admitting there is an anti-Trump bias in reporting and fake news is real. You know, just like President Trump has said from the beginning.
It is blatantly obvious to the average conservative-leaning media consumer. The rating statistics of Fox News Channel, consistently beating out all the other cable news outlets, prove the lack of venues available to anyone with a moderate to a conservative point of view. These viewers flock to Fox as their lifeline. Fox News Channel is rewarded with the highest ratings. It’s the effect of supply and demand.
“I’m terribly concerned that when you talk about the New York Times these days when you talk about the Washington Post these days, we’re not talking about the New York Times of 50 years ago. We are not talking about the Washington Post of 50 years ago,” Koppel said on March 7 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in a clip that was uncovered on Monday by NewsBusters.
“We’re talking about organizations that I believe have, in fact, decided as organizations that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States,” Koppel said. “We have things appearing on the front page of the New York Times right now that never would have appeared 50 years ago.”
These newspapers have always been liberal but now they are so often embarrassingly wrong about stories that are unfavorable to President Trump or his administration that Koppel can’t defend them. Ouch. He acknowledges that even the front pages of the newspapers are filled with commentary, not actual reporting. But, don’t mistake this sort of honesty for support of Trump. He isn’t a Trump supporter (duh!) but he’s issuing his criticism as a sort of wake-up call, I think, to those out there employing reporting to solely benefit #TheResistance, not to actually deliver real news reporting.
“He’s not mistaken when so many of the liberal media, for example, described themselves as belonging to the Resistance. What does that mean? That’s not said by people who consider themselves reporters, objective reporters of facts,” Koppel said. “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.”
In contrast, bitter partisan and disgraced news anchor Dan Rather continues merrily down the path of #Resistance. He calls Twitter the perfect platform for President Trump’s “propaganda”. He told CNN’s Brian Stelter (also a noticeably partisan guy) that Trump’s social media savvy outside of Twitter hasn’t proven strong enough to battle “extremism” online.
“The answer is, not very well. Look, we have to deal with reality. This is a whole new age. And the president has the strongest, the most powerful platform for propaganda that humans have ever had. No president has ever had this kind of reach, the combination of television, radio, the internet, social media, tweets.”
But, you know, with Twitter, much of the time, not all the time, much of the time, I sense the public has a sense that they’re facing a manure spreader in a windstorm. It just keeps coming and coming and coming at you. It’s ridiculous but it’s unrelenting. And he understands the value of that. But for the rest of us, and for the public at large, it’s time to take a deep breath, say to yourself, stay steady. Keep in mind that this is a tremendous tool for propaganda. See it in that context and do the best we can.
Self-awareness is hard, Dan. Rather, you’ll remember fell from grace at CBS News for reporting on a fabricated story about George W. Bush’s military service record. The basis of the story was a fake military document on the Internet that used a computer font, not that of an old-school typewriter that would have been used back in the day. So much for technical savvy, huh.
Pulitzer Center Senior Adviser @MarvinKalb is joined by veteran journalist Ted Koppel and @CarnegieEndow President William J. Burns to discuss his new book, “Enemy of the People.” Watch live here: https://t.co/QPi2CPDXw4 pic.twitter.com/H3lFyUWIkz
— Pulitzer Center (@pulitzercenter) March 7, 2019