Ted Koppel Slams Media Bias: ‘If You Start Drawing Those Distinctions,’ Hard To ‘Know Where You Stop’

On Friday, journalist Ted Koppel appeared on NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live.” During his segment, Koppel and host Dan Abrams covered several topics before discussing the bias in legacy media, especially as it relates to former President Trump.

Abrams first read a 2019 quote from Koppel:

I’m terribly concerned that when you talk about The New York Times these days, when you talk about The Washington Post these days, we’re not talking about The New York Times of 50 years ago. We’re not talking about The Washington Post of 50 years ago. We’re talking about organizations that, I believe, have, in fact, decided as organizations that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States.

Abrams then asked Koppel if he still felt the same way.

After praising legacy outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post for “brilliant journalism,” Koppel noted that “opinion belongs on the opinion page; that’s why they call it the op-ed section.”

“I don’t like seeing opinion being expressed on the front page of a great newspaper,” Koppel said, later adding that it “bothers me when I see them losing some of the criteria that always used to keep a wall between opinion and news coverage.”

Abrams pushed back, saying that some journalists claim that Trump is different, and therefore must be “covered differently by the media.”

“I think if you start drawing those distinctions, it’s very difficult to know where you stop drawing the distinction. Do you feel that way about anybody else in politics?” Koppel replied before reiterating that the place for opinion is the op-ed page.

TRANSCRIPT:

ABRAMS: Do you still feel that way, and if so, how has that, do you think, impacted media coverage of Donald Trump over the past few years?

KOPPEL: Well, let me be absolutely clear: I think The New York Times and The Washington Post do some absolutely brilliant journalism. But I think opinion belongs on the opinion page; that’s why they call it the op-ed section. And that’s where the opinion pieces are, the columns; that’s where the editorials are, and that’s where it belongs. I don’t like seeing opinion being expressed on the front page of a great newspaper. Having said that, let me say again, I think the Times, the Post, The Wall Street Journal are doing some of the best journalism that I have seen over the past 50 years. I just wish they wouldn’t slip into that category. And when you start — you know, Lyndon Johnson used to say, when we get down in the mud with a hog, the hog loves it, and you both get dirty. So, it bothers me when I see them losing some of the criteria that always used to keep a wall between opinion and news coverage.

ABRAMS: And as you know, the response to that from some would be that Donald Trump is different, that he has to be covered differently by the media than others. What do you make of that?

KOPPEL: Well, I think if you start drawing those distinctions, it’s very difficult to know where you stop drawing the distinction. Do you feel that way about anybody else in politics? Is, you know, are we going to start picking up our morning newspaper to see who’s in and who’s out in terms of the news coverage? Again, there is a place for that, in the op-ed section. I don’t like it on the front page.

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