Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Ted Koppel

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ted Koppel

I felt optimistic about American journalism after reading Kristina Borjesson's interview with Ted Koppel. His outlook on media coverage leading up to the war in Iraq was fair to both the media and the media watcher.
I don't believe that the media did a fair job of asking the right questions, but Koppel explained why he believed that it did. I may not agree with that, but Koppel brought up good points. He says, "..put them in front of the television set with a newscast on and ask them at the end of that newscast what was reported, and for the most part, they pay little attention."
This is a good point. Perhaps, the media was asking the right questions, and only the audience was not paying attention.
Koppel goes on to talk about the excellence of American journalism. I agree with his opinion that American journalism, at its best, is the best in the world. The reporters on the BBC seem to me to be completely nonpartisan. I can't say that for American media, but I can say that for some American media, such as Koppel, Brian Williams, and Jim Lehrer. I would say that these particular anchors have more influence over their audience than the BBC journalists. I don't know that for sure, because I don't live in England, but journalists such as those mentioned stick out in a slew of biased, opinionated journalists like Bill O'Reilly and Anderson Cooper.
I enjoyed reading the interview and am making it a priority to tune into Nightline.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

The is reason for optimism, on the other hand Ted Koppel is retiring. He does a fine job of defending the network news and you are right to recognize that optimism, but consider what he says about the limitations of the audience. Is that a cause for optimism? Is Koppel passing the buck here? It is appropriate to recognize that the television audience in this country is a challenge for in depth news coverage. No demand, limited attention, makes it difficult for the mainstream news media to increase the quantity of world coverage.

On the question of the BBC, no one is free of bias entirely, but the BBC is a first class news operation, like NPR, PBS, NYT, Washington Post, etc. There is a lot of quality news gathering out there, but it caters to an elite, not the vast majority. What does that mean for war coverage and democracy? Different wars for different audiences. The information elite has a very different perspective on foreign affairs than someone who relies on talk radio, Jay Leno or FOX for their news of the world.

5/03/2006 10:49 PM  

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