Ted Koppel: NYT, WashPost 'Decided as Organizations That Donald Trump is Bad for the United States'

By Michael W. Chapman | March 21, 2019 | 12:46pm EDT
Veteran journalist Ted Koppel.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

Journalism legend Ted Koppel, who anchored ABC's Nightline for 25 years and won 25 Emmy Awards for his reporting, said news outlets such as The New York Times and Washington Post have decided that President Donald Trump "is bad for the United States," that they tried to stop him from being elected in 2016, and that many in the press today are not a "reservoir of objectivity."

"We are not the reservoir of objectivity that they [public] think we were," Koppel said to veteran journalist Marvin Kalb on March 7 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. Koppel and Kalb had gathered to speak publicly about Kalb's newest book, Enemy of the People: Trump's War on the Press, The New McCarthyism, and The Threat to American Democracy.

After Kalb had spoken at length about President Trump's criticism of the press and why he thinks the attacks are unfair, Koppel said, “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 are 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," said Koppel. "We have things appearing on the front page of The New York Times right now that never would have appeared 50 years ago – analysis, commentary on the front page.”

"I remember," he said, "sitting at the breakfast table with my wife during the campaign after the Access Hollywood tape came out and The New York Times -- and I will not offend any of you here by using the language but you know exactly what words were used -- and they were spelled out on the front page of The New York Times. I turned to my wife and I said, 'The Times is absolutely committed to making sure that this guy does not get elected.'"

"So, his perception that the establishment press is out to get him doesn’t mean that great journalism is not being done – it is," said Koppel, who worked as a reporter and anchor for 20 years at ABC before taking point at Nightline.  "But the notion that most of us look upon Donald Trump as being an absolute fiasco, he is not mistaken in that perception."  

(Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

"And he’s not mistaken when so many of the liberal media, for example, describe themselves as belonging to the Resistance," said Koppel.  "What does that mean? That’s not said by people who consider themselves reporters, objective reporters of facts."

"That’s the kind of language that's used by people who genuinely believe -- and I rather suspect with some justification -- that Donald Trump is bad for the United States, and the sooner he’s out of office, the better they will like it," he said. "Whether that happens by indictment, impeachment, or election, we’ll see.”

“But I disagree with you, Marvin," said Koppel.  "We are not the reservoir of objectivity that they think we were.”

Koppel's remarks were videotaped by broadcast journalist Nicholas Ballasy, a former reporter for 

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