Nightline 7/28/04

Did anyone else see his discussion with Jon Stewart?

It looked to me like Stewart was trying to get Koppel to see that it’s okay for network news people to “call bullshit”, and Koppel said no, they can’t do that, Stewart can, but not the other guys.

Then, rather than thanking Stewart for being gracious and smart and thought-provoking, Koppel said what sounded like “You’re done, this is over”, and cut to something boring (I forget what).

I’ve always respected Ted Koppel, but last night with Stewart, he acted like Big Brother was watching.

Did I interpret this wrong? I’d like to see a transcript.

Well, I didn’t see it, but that does sound odd to me although not for the reasons you thought.

First, Koppel is one of the few (mainstream) political interviewers who doesn’t let his guests get away with BS. He does call bullshit, although not in so many words, and he often will challenge a guest who is evading his question.

And second, Koppel is often terse when it comes to wrapping up a segment. His show is only 25 minutes long since most local 11PM newscasts are 35 minutes long, and then it’s polluted with what seems like extra commercials. With what’s left for actual program, he’s got to fit in an opening story, an interview/dialogue, and then a closing statement. He doesn’t have a heck of a lot of time for the interview part sometimes, and he’s not diplomatic when it comes to cutting off guests when he’s out of time.

But he usually does make it clear that it’s because of time constraints.

Perhaps he simply does not like Jon Stewart, and didn’t hide it.

bughunter, I thought he liked Jon Stewart too. They were doing swell, until the end.

I might well have interpreted it wrong, and you’re right about the time constraints. But Koppel wasn’t smiling, and he didn’t thank Stewart. My impression of Koppel was “News isn’t supposed to be funny, dammit.”

Wish I’d taped it.

Appreciate your input; thanks. :slight_smile:

Here’s the transcript of the interview:

**STEWART: No, but you CAN say that’s BS. You don’t need humor to do that because you have what I wish I had which is credibility and gravitas. This is interesting stuff, and it’s all part of the discussion and I think it’s a good discussion to have, but I think it’s important to take a more critical look. You know, don’t you think?



Thanks for the link.

What do you think? The transcript said Koppel smiled, but it looked more like a smirk to me.

Koppel is going to be on The Daily Show tonight. I hope they continue the discussion.

Koppel wasn’t on The Daily Show Thursday night – the DirecTV schedule either got it wrong or Koppel was otherwise engaged.

According to comments on the Koppel/Stewart story on the website, I’m not the only one who saw Koppel’s reaction as defensive. “Icy” is the word a couple of them used.

dantheman, thanks again for that link. Interesting site.

You’re welcome. I’d never been there before. I belong to an LJ community devoted to TDS, and someone posted it there.

Thing is, Stewart does have a lot of credibility and…I’ll say…clout. On par (in certain demographics) with the “real”, respectable newspeople. I wonder if Koppel is somewhat resentful of this.

I’d like to see Jon Stewart get a political show, featuring interviews with various figures, where his humor is liberally injected into the discussion and commentary, but isn’t the main priority of the show.