2003. This is ugly. Congratulating Ted Koppel.
He's disgusting - and getting worse now that he's become a self-styled
war hero: he's tagging along with a military unit. He's
playing Mr. GI in his old age. He now sounds like a cross between
Donald Rumsfeld and Alfred E. Newman. I think he thinks he's
Harvard's John Wayne. He even seems to get irritable when pressed
for significant information by his colleagues.
And it was Ted, the other night, who made the absurd statement, "At
Nightline we believe that Americans can handle the truth. So we
will give it to you."
Well, It wasn't Ted who actually "delivered the truth". But it did
happen on Nightline.
Nightline has a journalist named John Donvan reporting. Donvan
describes himself as a "unilateral" in Iraq. He said unilaterals
are journalists that want to be "outside the bubble of the military."
They make their own arrangements to get around so, he says, they can
report what they want not [unlike Ted] what the military wants.
They've got their own crews, hire vehicles, translators, I don't know
what else. So they've got money. Donvan works for Nightline.
He's been doing some good reporting, in my opinion. A couple of
nights ago, he pulled into a village in southern Iraq. The people
were very friendly at first. But as they talked they got more
agitated. "Why is the U.S. taking over Iraq?" "Why hasn't
Bush sent food and medicine like he said he would?" Apparently the
agitation turned to anger. It seemed to get too heated and he and the
crew eventually pulled out of town. But not before we saw some
very pissed off Iraqi citizens. It was the first example I'd seen
of "independent" reporting in the war zone. Since then other
journalist are starting to include a little of that part of the story.
But Donvan was the first one that I saw do it.
I don't know if Donvan will continue moving deeper into Iraq, or if he
will decide to linger in the relative safety near Kuwait. If he
does continue as a unilateral, it would be great to encourage his more
objective style of reporting.
And it would be great to see his "unilateral" segments on other ABC news
programs as well.
Call or write Ted and ABC: Be nice. Kill them with kindness.
Don't tell them how bad you think Ted is. I would suspect it reduces
our credibility and therefore our effectiveness when we are
We want guys like Donvan on the air - as often as possible. So
let's do this smart.
Tell them you'd like to see more of John Donvan and others like him.
Ted Koppel c/o Nightline: (Nihar is one of the producers)
1717 DeSales St., NW, Washington, DC 20036
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or
www.abcnews.go.com/service/Help/abcmail_news.html. Click down in
the News Show box to Nightline.
47 W. 66 St., New York, NY 10023
D.C. Bureau phone: 202-222-7777
General e-mail: email@example.com
President ABC News: David Westin, , 47 W. 66th St., NY