Colbert Cheers Ted Koppel: ‘One of the Most Respected Journalists of Our Time’

On Monday's Late Show, liberal comedian Stephen Colbert heaped praise on liberal journalist Ted Koppel, who hosted ABC’s Nightline for 29 years, and called him “one of the most respected journalists of our time.” 

Colbert provided a fawning introduction of Koppel and touted how he “won eight Peabody awards, 11 Overseas Press Club awards 42 Emmys, you’ve been managing editor of the Discovery Channel, and news analyst for BBC America, a commentator right now on NPR.”

Rather than ask Koppel about the embarrassing decline of Nightline, the CBS comedian instead sympathetically asked “[a]s someone who is been in journalism for a long time, what do you think of the state of today's journalism? How is it doing? And please give your answer in the form of a list of 17 casts that look like world leaders.” 

After Koppel explained that journalism is “so fragmented now, we have so much journalism” competing for “a tiny fragment of the audience” the veteran ABC reporter eagerly cheered how people like Colbert “end up doing more serious studies of serious subjects in a funny way than news people.”

Koppel made similar comments during an appearance on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah last week in which he praised the liberal Comedy Central host's supposed role in helping to shape the news: 

[T]here's still journalism in the news but I must say you and your colleagues who kind of mix important subjects with humor are in many respects focusing on more important issues than some of the my old colleagues.

See relevant transcript below. 

CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert 

November 23, 2015

STEPHEN COLBERT: My next guest was the host of "Nightline" for 29 years and is one of the most respected journalists of our time. Please welcome Ted Koppel.

TED KOPPEL: 50 shows, has Jon ever worn the same suit twice? 

COLBERT: No I don't think he has worn the same shoes twice. You have won eight Peabody awards, 11 Overseas Press Club awards 42 Emmys, you’ve been managing editor of the Discovery Channel, and news analyst for BBC America, a commentator right now on NPR. As someone who is been in journalism for a long time, what do you think of the state of today's journalism? How is it doing? And please give your answer in the form of a list of 17 casts that look like world leaders. 

KOPPEL: Well, we've got Mao Zedong, The state of journalism, we are so fragmented now, we have so much journalism. Everyone is in competition for a tiny little fragment of the audience. And whereas 30 or 40 years ago we used to be in competition to try and give people the news that they need, now we're in competition to give people the news that they want. And people like you end up doing more serious studies of serious subjects in a funny way than news people. 

COLBERT: Trying to get me fired, Ted? 

KOPPEL: No! Hell no.  

NB Daily CBS Late Show Stephen Colbert Ted Koppel

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