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Ted Koppel - War Profiteer

Ted Koppel has decided take some time during his show to read off the names of all the American soldiers killed in Iraq. Entitled “The Fallen,” the special “Nightline” broadcast will air FRIDAY APRIL 30 (11:35 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. ABC News will also simulcast this tribute live on its Jumbotron in New York City’s Times Square. ABC News Radio will air excerpts of the program. How sweet. How noble. How....transparent. Now, I know you're asking, what media bias? What are you talking about? See, I thought, as did many others, that Memorial Day would be a more fitting time to do this. Hey, even Koppel thought so. Then he said: "But we felt that the impact would actually be greater on a day when the entire nation is not focused on war dead," he said. Ok, let's put aside that statement for a moment and play a little guessing game. Does anyone know what happens this week in tv land? Beuler? Anyone? That's right, it sweeps month, beginning on Thursday! Do I detect ulterior motives - say something besides altruism and patriotism - from the esteemed Mr. Koppel? Does Memorial Day fall inside of sweeps month? No, it does not. The Washington Post asked ABC about the sweeps stunt. [Executive producer Leroy] Sievers and others we spoke with at ABC News insisted they did not realize that the May sweeps start tomorrow. Right. Show me an exec that doesn't know when sweeps starts and I'll show you an exec getting a pink slip. Oh, it's not just about ratings. And that's where the media bias comes in. Allah asks: bq. Do any of Allah's readers know if Ted did something similar for the troops killed in Afghanistan? Or in Mogadishu? Or when the mujahedeen blew up the Marine barracks in Lebanon, or when they killed 17 sailors in trying to sink the U.S.S. Cole? Or after Gulf War I? I looked and looked, Allah. The answer seems to be a resounding no. Then again, during those times, Ted probably wasn't looking to throw poison darts at a running president. Let's look at this line again: "But we felt that the impact would actually be greater on a day when the entire nation is not focused on war dead," he said. Just what kind of impact is Ted trying to make? From where I sit, it looks like it's the kind of impact designed to fan the flames of anti-war sentiment. Oh, and if you know of anyone who died in Iraq while defending freedom, but they did not die in actual combat, don't bother waiting up for the name to be read. There's no room for friendly fire or accidents in this sweeps extravaganza. "I have always felt, and I said it when I was in Iraq last year, that the most important thing a journalist can do is remind people of the cost of war," Mr. Koppel said in a telephone interview yesterday. Yes, and the most important thing a newscaster can do is to drive home those liberal talking points of hopelessnes and defeat. I'm not asking Koppel to do a two hour piece on Iraqis throwing flowers at the feet of U.S. soldiers. I'm just asking him to be honest in motives, and asking ABC to not take its viewers for idiots. Then again, ABC is also airing that Who Wants to Be an Adoptive Parent piece of garbage. Perhaps next week, Barbara Walters will read off the names of all those "insurgents" killed by US soldiers. She can auction off some Palestinian orphans while she's at it.


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I thought the idea of reading the names of the war dead was a great one.

These people all deserve to be honored(that includes those who weren't killed in firefights). We need to remember that these people gave their lives in service of this country whther or not you disagree with the direction of service.

What I find appalling is the sweeps angle. Even worse when the producer claimed he didn't even know when sweeps started?

Obviously 20/20 fucking knows...

God, I think I am going to be sick.

Yeah, at first I was utterly baffled at the idea of a list of war dead having more of an impact at a time when we're not focused on war dead. It's only when you ask yourself "what kind of impact" - as you did - that the intent becomes clear.

Or another thought: maybe ABC is trying to atone for being the only major media outlet to be covering UNscam.

I used to be laurence.s.simon@abc.com

Reading that article, I have never been more glad not to be anymore.

Rooterville (Reuters) reports: "Due to time constraints in the 30-minute program, "Nightline" will limit its reading to the approximately 523 U.S. troops killed in combat since the start of the war. Another 201 have died as a result of accidents, friendly fire or suicide." (emphasis added)...

So the only thing distinguishing combat deaths from common daily accidents is "time constraints"?

"I need to warn our affiliates that we may be going over our allotted time period this evening, since we just received notice of a traffic collision in Mosul..."

"So the only thing distinguishing combat deaths from common daily accidents is "time constraints"?"

So much for honoring the dead!

ABC, Assholes Bereft of Conscience.

Has the creature living on top of Koppels head finally taken control of his mind?

Even worse than Koppel's "Nightline" stunt is the outrage from newspapers over the fact that they're not being allowed to photograph the coffins coming off the plane at Dover. Everyone knows the coffins are there; everyone has a sense of how many there are from the daily casualty reports; everyone's seen photos from some of the funerals, which the press are perfectly free to attend if the families grant them permission. Not good enough, sez they. They want the money shot--mass casualties, one next to the other next to the other.

My question is, now that these have been released, where precisely is the news value in obtaining additional photos? Future photos will look identical, i.e., several rows of caskets covered by American flags. You'd think the fact that they already mixed up the Columbia astronaut photos with shots of Iraq casualties might have clued them into that, but no.

You don't suppose "news value" has little to do with it and they're actually only interested in propagandizing on behalf of the anti-war crowd, do you?

My first thought was that this would be a fitting tribute but now having read Koppel's quote above, the whole thing reeks of a stunt and doesn't seem very sincere. I mean doing this to illustrate the "cost of war" seems like a trivialization of the sacrifice of the men and women of our military. Aren't there additional ways to show the "cost of war" or is this it?

"the most important thing a journalist can do is remind people of the cost of war"

Uh, no. I would think it more important to remind them of the reasons for war.

I also wonder why ABC would want to restrict the term "war dead" to soldiers killed in combat in Iraq. Besides those mentioned by Allah, it seems to me I recall 3,000 more war dead. Or do they not count?

Think we could get a few Iraqi bloggers out there to post the name of an Iraqi executed, tortured, or "disappeared" by Saddam for every name Koppel reads?

Or, you know, to keep the ratio correct, several hundred names for every one Koppel reads?

Allah brings up a great point, one that absolutely drove me nuts this week (although there wasn't far to go, considering the lack of sleep). I just can't imagine the ego involved in believing that the great unwashed masses--you know, us--JUST. DON'T. UNDERSTAND that people are dying in Iraq... and think that symbols like coffins would help get it through our thick skulls.

Yep. That's what Edward R. Murrow spent his broadcasts on. The cost of war. He'd been quoted many times on the topic. "They're just too friggin stupid to figure that out, unless you tell them, over and over again. And America's tired of hearing about oppression and evil, and world domination, enslavement".

I know they've been gearing up for sweeps at the station I work at for the past 2/3 weeks at least. There is NO WAY they didn't realize that's when sweeps started.

You know, if I were programming sweeps week, the last thing I would consider would be ted koppel droning out 700 names in his newsanchor monotone. Unless they're planning on having everyone fall into a drowsy slumber in which they lack the energy to reach for the remote ;)

PBS Newshour have been reading names every evening since the start. Slent and respectfull..but you all would see liberal motives in that as well.

Why do you hate dead americans?

Well that's mighty presumptuous of you, Judson.


This has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. Based on the fact that you have an Executive Producer LYING about not realizing its sweeps (knowing newsroom sarcastic humor, he'll probably say it was a joke if pressed) and Ted Koppell trying to say that Memorial Day is a day not to focus on the war dead, it doesn't matter if this is from a liberal or conservative bent. If the EP and Ted are willing to float such whoppers about the timing of the show, then they're proven themselves liars. Call the show Nightlyin from now on.

If FOX or some conservative outlet had tried this, I'd have screamed just as loud. Hell, I busted Orrin Hatch's ass on the "blow up computers' bruhaha and you don't get much more conservative than that Mormoron. But the fact that it was at ABC and I still have that stain in my soul from 4.5 years of being a cast member, well, it was in... the... zone.

Liars and fools are liars and fools regardless of which way they swing. It's just easier to catch the liberals in the media doing it because they do it so often and they're broadcasted. ;)

I hope that all here have read the entire story and ALL of the statements made by the ABCNews crew (Koppel and Sievers), and not just what is quoted here (context is key, people).

I know that if it were my son/daughter/husband/wife/uncle/aunt etc. who had sacrified their life for the USA, I'd want the nation to hear their name, see their picture, know their hometown, and pay their respects. Finally, someone is giving Americans the opportunity to do just that. I'll be there.

Is it too much to take people's motives at face value? Is it too much to simply believe someone's statements for just once? What a jaded bunch we have become.

Two other points, I have read that the broadcast has been extended to include all 700+ names. And, thanks for the info on PBS Newshour honoring each individual lost. I will also be catching that to give my respects (as little as that means, I know) to those who serve.

Is it too much to take people's motives at face value? Is it too much to simply believe someone's statements for just once?

Yep. Give me one good reason to trust the media - left or right.

I wonder if anyone at ABC or any other US news organisation has ever given a moment's thought to reading out a single one, never mind all, of the more than 10,000 Iraqis killed SO FAR by the US and UK in their illegal war and occupation of Iraq? (Or if time constraints make this impossible, what about the 600 killed in just the past three weeks in Falluja?)

...Nope, didn't think so. For one thing, nobody ever bothered writing them down. Not any Western journalists, anyway.