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Ted's "Tribute" Loses Some Stations

Sinclair TV tells ABC affiliates to pull Nightline special:
The ABC Television Network announced on Tuesday that the Friday, April 30 edition of "Nightline" will consist entirely of Ted Koppel reading aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in action in Iraq. Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq. There is no organization that holds the members of our military and those soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in service of our country in higher regard than Sinclair Broadcast Group. While Sinclair would support an honest effort to honor the memory of these brave soldiers, we do not believe that is what "Nightline" is doing. Rather, Mr. Koppel and "Nightline" are hiding behind this so-called tribute in an effort to highlight only one aspect of the war effort and in doing so to influence public opinion against the military action in Iraq. Based on published reports, we are aware of the spouse of one soldier who died in Iraq who opposes the reading of her husband's name to oppose our military action. We suspect she is not alone in this viewpoint. As a result, we have decided to preempt the broadcast of "Nightline' this Friday on each of our stations which air ABC programming. We understand that our decision in this matter may be questioned by some. Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands of private citizens killed in terrorist attacks since and including the events of September 11, 2001. In his answer, we believe you will find the real motivation behind his action scheduled for this Friday. Unfortunately, we may never know for sure because Mr. Koppel has refused repeated requests from Sinclair's News Central news organization to comment on this Friday's program.
Of course, someone will immediately look into the management of the Sinclair group, discover there's a Republican or two on the board, and declare this all part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Related: Ted Koppel, War Profiteer, and The War Dead On Pat Tillman


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Michele commented on the Sinclair decision to refrain from running the Koppel propaganda piece thusly: A Small Victory - Ted's "Tribute" Loses Some StationsOf course,... [Read More]


Good for Sinclair. Maybe other affiliates will get the message, too.

Seems ABC is just Full of great ideas these days

Bravo for Sinclair to make such a gutsy decision.

I wasn't planning on watching this dreck anyway, but now, I don't have too, as Sinclair owns the ABC affiliate in my town.

(big grin)


Please. Out of better than five hundred killed in action they came up with one widow who requested her husbands name not be used? Either they're not lookingvery hard or are overestimating the outrage, 1 of 523 isn't exactly a representative sample. By all means her repsect her wishes, but don't make sound like anything more than the voice of one grieving woman.

I've heard several politicians, from the President on down, recite the names of 9/11 victims. Why is this any different? Rather than suggesting that the public ask Koppel about his motives I would suggest that the Sinclair Broadcast Group do the same and justify their action with a little more than a few vague accusations and guesses about Koppels motives. If Rush or Hannity was doing the same thing would they react differently?

As far as sweeps go, do you really think a bland and particularly dull broadcaster reciting the names of dead soldiers is going to be a boon to the ratings?

I think it's shameless the lengths that these liberals media elites go to in order to keep a serious tribute to our troops off the air. It's just sickening.

"the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."

It's just like a the far, far left to suggest that showing a respectful picture and reading the name of one of our heros is tantamount to treason. I say we start a petition to send these bile filled censors back to france in a tuna can. There's nothing more dangerous to this country then a liberal who's decided to take it himself to control what you can see on TV (just remember Lieberman!)

I think I know what really has them worried. They are afraid that the real answer to their silly question might be that Ted Koppel was embedded with the 3rd Infantry as they rolled into Baghdad and the experience may have sparked a little patriotism in his sad, twisted liberal soul. Because there's nothing like how the liberals will turn on one of their own who turns to the right side (and believe me, I know, I was once a semi-liberal myself!)

Anyhow, if you look at how these self-appointed defenders of the public air waves voted with their cash you can clearly see, it was for the penultimate liberal, the Algore!

But wait, they might be conservative you suggested? Why, nothing could be further from the truth!

Amazing just how low Koppel and the liberal media can go. And we have months more of this shameless crap to endure. First of all the term news is no longer applicable for ABC et al - it would be more aptly renamed the evening propaganda or the evening "Hate fest". We have a wonderful country and a dedicated military bringing the hope of freedom to Iraq. Does the media want to restore faith with the country? Then start giving the UN scandal the attention it deserves. Start a hue and cry to oust Kofi and the others that stole from the Iraqi people. And start telling the truth. What a novel idea....

Overlooking the human cost of the war is just as politically motivated as Koppel's decision not to overlook it.


Any decent, law-abiding (and VRWC memo reading) American wouldn't be caught getting fed into one of Sodom's shredders, let alone watch Ted "I'm not biased -- just ask O'Reilly!" Koppel...

Shit, there were a lot of clauses in that there sentence, for which I (not so) humbly apologize.

Let's lay it straight on the line here, OK? If the guy who manages your local market badmouths your mother, do you continue to shop there? If the pimply-faced fuck at your local video rental says all Republicans are arseholes, do you keep going in there to feed your B movie fetish?

Well, then, at what point do Republicans stand up for their President who's continually made fun of/trashed/condemned by 90% of the media?

Gotta have your Seinfeld or Curb Yer Dog-or-Enthusiasm-or-whatever fix? Larry David said your president is stupid and a chicken. Hmmmmm.....they don't say the same things on Spike TV, maybe I'll watch that instead?!

It's really true: we Republicans will hand the rope to Democrats with which they'll hang us. Gladly. Willingly. Why? Cuz we can't do without Hollywood. Yeah, they may make us mad, but we'll keep watching because... well, they make us laugh! Of course, they then turn around with our money in hand and fork it over to schmucks we wouldn't trust with our dog, but hey! It's only TV/video/movies/music!

Ecch. I'm 3 weeks Comedy Central-free, and wish to God all these sponsors knew how I feel. When the hell will Republicans get a clue?

I know the arguments for and against boycotts... is it really too much to expect we can realize the power in our wallets and make these assholes feel some pain? Even just once a week, or once a month, just until 2 Nov 04?

I wonder...

Wow, I'm impressed by Sinclair. That is an incredible move. Bravo to them!

Affiliation revolts are fun to watch.
If only Belo would tell ABC to stick it.

Respectfully disagree with you on this one, Michele. Bravo to Ted Koppel. I think it's right to remember these men and women wherever and whenever possible.

Iraq was not intially about the war on terror, (which is where the U.S. should be focused) much as Bush would have liked to tie it to something... anything. Sure, it's become that now. Don't get me wrong, I agree that Saddam should have been removed from power. But did it REALLY take a full-blown war and the loss of so many lives to make that happen?! Maybe you can argue yes, because, look! Saddam's gone. It's hard to believe that the U.S. couldn't have figured out another way.

Bush wrapped Iraq into his whole "axis of evil" mission, and to the war on terrorism. Thing is, in the June 2000 report released by the National Commission on Terrorism (headed up by Paul Bremer) entitled "Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism" (which if you ask me, was quickly dusted off to become the very foundation for the Patriot Act right after 9-11) it mentions every other state listed in the so-called axis of evil that Bush listed... but nowhere... not once, does it ever mention Iraq. How all of a sudden did Iraq become a part of the Axis of Evil when Bush came on board?

"Countering the Changing Threat of International Terrorism" : http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/commission.html

Al -

"By all means her repsect her wishes, but don't make sound like anything more than the voice of one grieving woman."

But we should pay endless attention to the Jersey girls because there were 4 of them supposedly representing 3000 families?

I don't think Sinclair could be accused of doing this as part of the VRWC. That would mean admitting that Ted was reading the names as part of a liberal agenda. After all you can't be stifling a lefty unless the person being stifled is on the left, right?

So oknow, you're essentially saying you agree with Koppel because you oppose the war?

Al, if Hannity or Rush was doing this, I think different motives would have to be assumed. That doesn't mean their motives would be pure, but I think most people would be willing to acknowledge that Koppel and Rush approach this issue from two different directions.

I disagree with the stations decision. Geez of all the things to offended at reading of the war dead should't be one of them.

That said, I also disagree with Koppel only reading combat deaths in Iraq. In addition to non combat death of US soldiers, 100 soldiers have died in Afganistan. I also find it fishy that the producer claimed not to even know when sweeps start when pressed whether this was for ratings.

If Koppel wished to honor the war dead, he should read, in addition to their names, the missions that they accomplished while in Iraq. That would give a full picture - and that would be the honor these men deserve.

By presenting them as killed, without presenting any progress made (both by these men and by the other servicemen stationed over there), Koppel's lying to the American public, and intentionally trying to subvert their mission.

Koppel is prostituting the dead for his own political agenda.

I should have a picture with my middle finger extended and a big "Bite me, Ted" sign around my neck, just in case I get shot, I guess. Kinda like a living will - let them use that one. I doubt I'll make it into Iraq for this one, but hey, I'll be somewhere, and it never hurts to have a little insurance, right?



1) They are reading all deaths in Iraq, not just combat.
2) Why doesn't he say X too, where X is anything else, is not an interesting point, it's a logical fallacy.
3) Maybe it's less fishy if you remember that people call them "May Sweeps" and the show is in April.


VRWC can easily oppose something that's not part of the liberal agenda. The world just ain't that black and white.

If someone had told me a week ago that you could get so many conservatives to oppose a show honoring our troops, I would have laughed. I just don't get it.

This is what he's going to do: read name, show picture. This is treason?! This is political?! Give me a break. It's the right thing to do, it's a good thing to do. Don't believe me, ask John McCain (if Drudge is right).

All this "it's not enough, why doesn't he do this, why doesn't he say that" ... hey, it's a free country, say it yourself. I don't care. I don't believe that if someone does something good, something patriotic, then we should jump on them, criticize them, and praise people who take them off the air. Before you make another "me too" post, how about asking yourself if that's really the American you want to live in.

"3) Maybe it's less fishy if you remember that people call them "May Sweeps" and the show is in April"

Fact check, babe. They may call them May sweeps, but they started last night.

I know the sweeps start in April, but only because I looked it up. My point was, if someone told me the "May Sweeps" were starting up, I wouldn't have guessed they meant on April 29th.

I admit that this is a weak point, however. If they didn't know, it was pretty stupid. Doesn't make it any less the right thing to do. If it takes cake to make the liberals honor our troops, then let them eat cake.

when i read the first two paragraphs of this:


and saw this:

"Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war's terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces," [R-Arizona Sen. John] McCain, a Vietnam veteran, wrote in a letter to David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group. "It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves."

i immediately thought - "uh oh... sinclair must be one of those 'far left' nuts that you lambast. it should be fun to watch the pro-war people get all up in his face for refusing to show the fallen some dignity, honor and recognition."

then i read the third paragraph and was utterly confused.

is anyone else as confused as i am? i thought the right would be happy to honor these fallen soldiers. i honestly thought this was a lefty agenda to diminish the work that these soldiers have done.

oh well. i guess if fox news were to air this, the tone would most likely be different here.


I'm with you, I just don't get it. It's like twilight zone. I mean, the Democratic Underground (which is essentially just a forum for Internet trolls and flamers, and known for posters who hope our troops lose) who are now coming out in favor of a respectful memorial, and conservatives are complaining about the same and trying to censor it?!?

Also, the reasons people are giving make absolutely no sense to me. Complaining that Koppel might be doing this to get good ratings (aka to make money?) Conservatives are now guys who think profit is immoral?? Apparently Ralph Nader took over our party while I wasn't looking. Get out! Seriously, if you think Ralph Nader is right, there's a party for you and it ain't mine!!!

[please note that the above comment was said without a shred of sarcasm. i was seriously about to go on a rant about the far left myself (they make all liberals look bad) - then i was mindfucked]

Soli -

The motive is obviously more than money and ratings when he is reading the name of the Iraqi war dead (just KIA, not accidents or friendly fire) and never did the same for the soldiers who died in Afghanistan, a war that is still ongoing.

Perhaps it's because the Afghanistan part of the war on terror is not part of the liberal agenda?

Bertie, I see your points as well. I think this is a weird issue, and where you fall all depends on your personal view of Koppel's motives. I don't think this is a left/right thing. It's a cynical/not cynical thing.

Michele: It will be all Iraqi war dead (they made the show longer for it). I'm not a big watcher of ABC honestly, so I don't know what they've done for Afghanistan. I do know that Koppel was with the 3rd infantry when they rolled into Baghdad, so it's possible that the Iraq war means something more for him because he was there and lived with the troops for a while.

It looks like a big success for the embedded media project to me. Of course, if we all hammer on him and get him in trouble, then he certainly isn't ever going to honor the troops anywhere else. It's just bad policy to try to punish people for doing good things. It makes no sense!

Soli - let me try this again.

I do not trust Ted Koppel's motives. I never have, I never will. I will never believe he is doing this for any other reasons than publicity, and to hammer home his political agenda.

Koppel did nothing for Afghanistan. NOTHING.

How about reading the names of all the people found in mass graves in Iraq?

What about reading the names of the dead soldiers from the first Gulf War?

I don't believe Koppel's motives are altruistic at all. Combine his failure to do this for the Afghanistan soldiers, and the fact that it's sweeps week, plus the fact that Koppel is a liberal and anti-war, I think you can see where I'm coming from.

Okay, well this is how the argument sounds like to me at this point:

If Koppel is doing a good thing for a bad reason, then it's bad.

Koppel is doing this for a bad reason because he's a liberal.

I think you see where this is going ... and I don't want to live in that country. I just don't. If you want to argue against someone's planned action, the fact that the person has a different viewpoint than you is not a valid point. Their action is the bone of contention.

What we have to go on is the following: he's going to show a picture and read a name, it's going to be somber and serious. I can find absolutely nothing wrong with this.

Hi Sean E, you asked, "So oknow, you're essentially saying you agree with Koppel because you oppose the war?" Dashed off to work after I posted earlier, but I essentially said that I don't agree with Michele because I oppose the war - in Iraq (not, in my view, the same as the war on terrorism). I really don't know where Koppel stands. But, no, I don't find it offensive that he will be reading the names of the men and women who have lost their lives in Iraq. It's incredibly sad that they are gone. Just trying to figure it out, Sean... really can't help but wonder what the heck we're doing in Iraq.

Also, Ted Koppel is for the Iraq war. Further, I'd like to see one of you anti-Koppel cynics come out and admit that he did a courageous thing by trucking along with the 3rd infantry into Baghdad (and yes, this was back when we thought they were establishing a chemical defense perimeter).

I think there are a lot of people here who are making bad assumptions about incomplete data, and I say that you're wrong. Give me something to work with here. He says he's pro-war, he doesn't give it a lot of negative spin, and he was there. What's not to like??!

I just don't get it.

I heard him on Curtis and Kuby this morning, and he sure didn't sound pro-war. Where's the incomplete data? All of my info has come from Koppel's words.

Incomplete data:

1) Koppel is "anti-war" ... I haven't seen any justification for this. In fact, trying to hunt around to find anything that supports this, mostly I get links back to asmallvictory. I've seen him proclaim his support for the war numerous times in the past.

2) Absolutely ignoring the fact that he went to Baghdad with the 3rd. That seems to me like maybe a reason why he might pick this war to memorialize. He slept with the troops!! (insert gratuitous partisian rancor about the Sinclair exec who got caught 'sleeping' in a much less patriotic position recently ...)

3) The pure absurdity of the "hasn't done enough" argument. Did you sprint to New York, run into the burning tower, and save a baby on 9/11? No? Well then you must be an evil bastardo who hates America! There's always something else more that you could do, it's a never-ending fallacy of pointlessness.

"3) The pure absurdity of the "hasn't done enough" argument. Did you sprint to New York, run into the burning tower, and save a baby on 9/11? No? Well then you must be an evil bastardo who hates America! There's always something else more that you could do, it's a never-ending fallacy of pointlessness."

Bad point to attempt, Soli.

I never said Ted Koppel was an evil American hating bastard. Nor do I expect him to have to do anything. What I expect is that he wouldn't use the troops, especially the dead troops, as a way to make a political point.

I don't care if he slept with the entire 3rd and spit shined their shoes. I am cynically doubting Koppel's altruism here. That's about all it comes down to - my doubt, which is based on everything I've read and heard on the subject in the past 24 hours or so, which has been a lot.

There's really no fact here, it's all opinion and conjecture. And this is the route I've taken, because I'm a cynical bastard.

michele vs michele:

1) "Koppel did nothing for Afghanistan. NOTHING.

"How about reading the names of all the people found in mass graves in Iraq?

"What about reading the names of the dead soldiers from the first Gulf War?"

2) "Nor do I expect him to have to do anything."

Also see the 20 other posts from various people which suggest just one more thing that Koppel could do, and since he didn't, means that this could not possibly be authentic. Well, I say that by this logic, everything done by anyone who didn't run to New York and rescue a baby from the burning building is just plain phony. It's a fallacy and it's the only remaining argument that hasn't been contradicted, because it's impossible to contradict. Even if you did rescue a baby, then why didn't you grab one for the other arm!!! Traitor!!!

And, no, I didn't really mean to suggest that you called him an "American hating bastardo," that whole paragraph was meant as hyperbole (although the Sinclair people sure came close).

Also, another fun fact is that ABC did have someone read the names of the 9/11 fallen in this format, on the first anniversary of 9/11, although it wasn't Ted Koppel who read them.