Ted Koppel UNLOADS: CNN’s Ratings ‘Would Be in the Toilet’ Without Trump

Veteran journalist Ted Koppel absolutely unloaded on CNN, Brian Stelter, and the state of journalism in 2018. Appearing in an October 1 Kalb Report forum, Koppel told CNN host Brian Stelter that the network secretly loves fighting with Trump: “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump.” The former Nightline anchor also called for journalistic “humility” instead of “arrogance.” 

As the panel discussed Trump, Koppel looked at Stelter and bluntly informed him: “Everybody here keeps talking about ideology and politics." “Money,” he stressed, adding, “You would be lost without Donald Trump.... CNN”s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump” A flustered Stelter sputtered, “Ted, you know that’s not true.... You are playing for laughs.” 

 

 

After Koppel forced Stelter to admit that the network’s ratings have gone up since Trump’s appearance as a political force, the CNN journalist lamely insisted, “If we go back down 40 percent, that's okay too.” At this point, the audience started laughing and host Marvin Kalb zinged, “Well, it may not be okay.” 

Koppel, trying not to upset his younger colleague too much, deemed this a “sensitive subject." In rare form, he moved on to MSNBC and suggested the hosts there would only move off Trump if thousands died. 

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? It is essentially — Oh, I know. Every once in a while. You know, if the number of people who died in Indonesia gets up to a 1000, they will give it a mention or two.

According to the ex-Nightline host, journalists CAN'T simply go on MSNBC and maintain their credibility: 

...When you are in the perspective of Joe and Mika Brzezinski in the morning, and you are on that program, where quite clearly the agenda is ant-Trump from start to finish, if you appear on that program and you sit on that desk morning after morning, the public is going to identify you as being anti-Trump. And you can do as best as you possibly can to be an objective reporter when you’re doing your story for the Times and people aren’t going to believe you.

Earlier, proving Koppel’s point about obsession, Stelter seethed that Trump is spreading “poison” and is “the leader of a hate movement against the press.” 

 

 

Now, obviously not everybody has been infected. Not everyone believes this nonsense about the press that he spreads everyday. But it is poisonous. And for us to sit there and pretend as if he’s not saying it just lets it fester and further divide the country. 

...

But he wants his fans to hate the press at the same time. He is the leader of a hate movement against the press that we haven’t seen before.

In a move that is sure to fall on deaf ears, Koppel called for “more humility” from the press, explaining that journalists “have become so arrogant” in the perception of many Americans: 

 

 

I think we need a little more humility. I think we need humility about the people who are so frustrated with us that they find themselves turning in desperation to Donald Trump. If for no other reason, I don’t know if you can say this on the Kalb Report, he pisses us off. And people love that. Just love it because we have become so arrogant in their perception — and maybe for real — that they are just looking for someone just to take us down a peg or two, but four or five pegs and beyond that.

Not seeming to get the point, host Marvin Kalb responded, “Most reporters are not arrogant.” 

On September 30, CNN founder, the very liberal Ted Turner, called out his creation: “I think they’re sticking with politics a little too much. They could do better to have a more balanced agenda.” 

A partial transcript of the 1 hour and 15 minute Kalb Report program can be found below. Click “expand” to read more. 

The Kalb Report: Truth Be Told: Journalism in the Age of Trump

10/1/18

7 minutes in

BRIAN STELTER: I think the press is fighting back and has to fight back because we are being — think about what he says on a daily basis.  It is a poison. You may love his policies. I may love his policies. But his attacks against the press are a poison. And he is infecting tens of millions of people with that poison. Now, obviously not everybody has been infected. Not everyone believes this nonsense about the press that he spreads everyday. But it is poisonous. And for us to sit there and pretend as if he’s not saying it just lets it fester and further divide the country. 

...

STELTER: However, let’s be clear: there is a lively, partisan press, full of opinion, full of hate for the President, full of rage. And that exists very much on the left. And I think that’s apart from newsrooms trying to get it right. And then, of course, on the right, there is an alternative universe, a partisan press that is propagandistic in support of the President. But I think you’re right. He loves the press. He loves engaging with the press. But he wants his fans to hate the press at the same time. He is the leader of a hate movement against the press that we haven’t seen before.

16 minutes in

TED KOPPEL: From Morning Joe to Rachel at night, on CNN, on MSNBC, the spear carriers are there from the New York Times, from the Washington Post and they are trying very, very hard. And they are trying very, very hard to be what they are: First rate, objective reporters. 

MARVIN KALB: But? 

KOPPEL: But when you are in the perspective of Joe and Mika Brzezinski in the morning, and you are on that program, where quite clearly the agenda is ant-Trump from start to finish, if you appear on that program and you sit on that desk morning after morning, the public is going to identify you as being anti-Trump. And you can do as best as you possibly can to be an objective reporter when you’re doing your story for the Times and people aren’t going to believe you. 

25 minutes in

KOPPEL: I think we’ve left out a keyword. Everybody here keeps talking about ideology and politics. Money. Money. 

KALB: Money? 

KOPPEL: Money. Donald Trump has been very, very good for baseball. He has been wonderful for the industry. Your boss acknowledged as much a number of months ago during the campaign. 

EMILY ROONEY (WGBH):  Les Moonves, it was. 

KOPPEL: Les Moonves also acknowledged it. But so did the head of CNN. 

STELTER: But that means what? If the ratings are up, that means what? 

KOPPEL: Oh, the ratings are up. It means you can’t do without Donald Trump. You would be lost without Donald Trump. 

STELTER: Ted, you know that’s not true. 

KOPPEL: CNN's ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump. 

STELTER: You know that’s not true. You are playing for laughs. You’ve lived through enough presidencies to know there will be more presidents. 

KOPPEL: Hold on a second, Brian. What were the ratings before Trump and what are the ratings now? 

STELTER: I would say we might be up 20, we might be up 30 percent, we might be up 40 percent. If we go back down 40 percent, that’s okay too. 

KALB: Well, it may not be okay. 

STELTER: Of course it is! I reject the premise that these networks are making so much money off Trump and thus we benefit from it. 

KOPPEL: Tell me for a moment, if you will, let’s get away from CNN then. Sensitive subject. All right. 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? It is essentially — Oh, I know. Every once in a while. You know, if the number of people who died in Indonesia gets up to a 1000, they will give it a mention or two —  But by and large, the only news that is covered, program after program after program. 

...

41 minutes in 

KOPPEL: I think we need a little more humility. I think we need humility about the people who are so frustrated with us that they find themselves turning in desperation to Donald Trump. If for no other reason, I don’t know if you can say this on the Kalb Report, he pisses us off. And people love that. Just love it, because we have become so arrogant in their perception — and maybe for real — that they are just looking for someone just to take us down not just a peg or two, but four or five pegs and beyond that. And that’s not going to change much.         

KALB: I would say, Ted that we are not. Most reporters are not arrogant. Most reporters are looking for a story. 

KOPPEL: You misunderstand. 

KALB: I don’t think I do. 

KOPPEL: I think you do. I’m not just talking about reporters. I’m talking about the establishment. 
 

NB Daily Video Ted Koppel Brian Stelter Donald Trump
Scott Whitlock's picture


Sponsored Links