Ted Koppel to CNN's Brian Stelter: 'CNN's ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump'

There are two parts to this clip below and both of them are worth watching. In the first half of this clip, Koppel makes some blunt points about how the media has changed from what it was 40-50 years ago and how, as a result of the blending of news and commentary, the public now believes everyone on TV has an agenda.


Koppel tells the story of a reporter from the NY Times who he tried to get as a guest on his show decades ago. The reporter was told by the Times’ executive editor Abe Rosenthal that he could go on Koppel’s show, but if he did he couldn’t return to the Times. “His point being two-fold. One, you work for the Times and that’s all I want you to do. And two, Koppel’s going to ask you a lot of provocative questions and I don’t want my NY Times reporters expressing opinions.”

“Well them days is long past,” Koppel said. He continued, “From Morning Joe to Rachel at night, on CNN, on MSNBC the spear-carriers are there from the NY Times, from the Washington Post.”

Koppel said that while guests try to appear non-partisan, there is no way to maintain that pose while appearing on Morning Joe every day, “where quite clearly the agenda is anti-Trump from start to finish.” If you appear on that program day after day, Koppel concluded, “the public is going to identify you as being anti-Trump.”

The second part of this is even better. Koppel points out that CNN and other networks have made a mint by capitalizing on Trump. “Donald Trump has been very, very good for baseball,” Koppel said.

“But that means what?” CNN’s Brian Stelter asked.

“The ratings are up—it means that you can’t do without Donald Trump,” Koppel replied, adding “You would be lost without Donald Trump.”


“Ted you know that’s not true,” Stelter objected.

“CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump,” Koppel said. As Stelter objected again, Koppel calmly asked, “What were the ratings before Trump and what are the ratings now?

Stelter admitted the network might be up 20-40% but then said, “If we go back down 40% that’s okay too.”

“Let’s get away from CNN, since that’s a sensitive subject,” Koppel said. “Let’s go to MSNBC. Is there a moment of the day when they are not focusing on Donald Trump or some intimately related subject?”

That’s where the clip below cuts off but Koppel has made his point. The left-leaning networks are profiting off their fixation on Trump. Stelter may want to pretend that doesn’t matter to his own network but he’s a host with a fixed contract, not one of the suits counting the money. I can guarantee you that they care and are very happy at being up 20-40 percent.


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Tom Jackson 6:01 PM on October 04, 2023