December 3, 2002 8:59 AM   Subscribe

ABC lets Koppel do his thing. Have you watched "Up Close", Ted Koppel's in-depth interview segment? NYTimes does a good job describing how Ted has chosen to be himself (i.e., high-brow and ministerial) with scant disregard to ratings. Is this type of program the antidote to the media's obsessive and corruptive focus on ratings?
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy (19 comments total)
scant disregard == focus.
but anyway, what does a guy who has posed and read propoganda at a camera all his life have to say that's worthwhile to listen to? what gives him wisdom? facial familiarity amongst the audience? psht!
posted by quonsar at 9:11 AM on December 3, 2002

"media's obsessive and corruptive focus on ratings"

The (vast majority of) media gets paid directly based on those rating numbers.

They promise a certain number of eyeballs (earholes, etc) of a certain demographic to someone who has something to sell that demographic. Then in most cases, if they fail to meet that promised ratings numbers, they have to give refunds.

Everyone knows the ratings aren't reality, nobody is more aware of that then the people who actually work in the business. But they're the best way we've got to charge for the eyeballs. Who's going to pay the millions it takes to produce broadcast quality TV if we can't somehow prove millions of people (and the right demographic flavor of people) are watching?
posted by Leonard at 9:16 AM on December 3, 2002

and the award for most creative new oxymoron goes to leonard for "broadcast quality tv"!
posted by quonsar at 9:20 AM on December 3, 2002

Koppel's pretty good, and I appreciate his commitment to be the anti-O'Reilly

The FoxNews-ization of the tv news is not a pretty sight, at least Koppel's doing the opposite.
I'd rather watch Charlie Rose anyway (very often the guet list is impressive, and I just like Charlie), but Koppel is doing the right thing

TK couldn't be more different from Pivot, the NYT guy didn't watch too much Apostrophes, I'd say
(and the Mitterrand reference in the story is not that precise, the bone cancer was kept secret for years and no paper could have found enough medical evidence to back up and run the story -- the mistress and illegitimate daughter thing, on the other hand, was very well known, and the French just didn't care. and of course we can argue about we're blue in the face if it's better to investigate presidential blowjobs in Parliament or just silently accept presidential infidelities)
posted by matteo at 9:24 AM on December 3, 2002


I love Charlie Rose as well. One always wonders if there ever will be a Rose-style program on one of the big networks given that PBS does not have to worry about ratings and the networks do (I know Rose did stuff 60 minutes II for a while). It looked like this one came close.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2002

wow you got the medianews newsletter about 20 minutes ago too.

Ok, snarkyness aside, I really like Koppel's show. The Letterman interview was really well done. He seems like a really easy person to talk to and would provide a good interviewer for those who normally don't like other media types.
posted by mkelley at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2002

I know ...stuff FOR 60 Minutes ... D'oh!
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy at 9:34 AM on December 3, 2002

Koppel can do what he wants because of who he is. If they yanked him for low ratings, ABC would lose anyone how still has any respect for broadcast news.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2002

Have you WATCHED either "Nightline" or "Up Close", quonsar?

Ted Koppel isn't exactly a blow-dried, pancaked propaganda spouter..."Nightline" has, I submit, done a pretty good job of untangling big stories and important issues without oversimplifying or trying to frighten the viewer. I also think Koppel has never shied away from asking his interviewees tough questions -- and when they're not answered, he often calls them on it.

Granted, I haven't seen "Up Close" myself, but I'd trust Koppel to put on a good program; he's already proven himself to be one of the better TV journalists/anchors out there.
posted by Vidiot at 9:45 AM on December 3, 2002

i'd have to take your word for it then, vidiot. i'm not a viewer and would have a 50-50 chance of picking koppel out of a line up of say, him and dan rather. i've had a longtime ax to grind with network news and don't watch it. so you can see why i asked! based on what you say i may have to scope this guy out.
posted by quonsar at 9:57 AM on December 3, 2002

What Leonard said. Plus: Boys and girls, it's way past time to grow up. There's really no free lunch. You want content, you've got to pay for it, one way or another. I say that knowing and regretting that the current system drives out quality idiosyncratic programming (EZ Streets then, Firefly now) that can't deliver the mass audiences advertisers demand. I'm glad Koppel's surviving.
posted by mojohand at 10:15 AM on December 3, 2002

Koppel can do what he wants with Up Close because the program is getting replaced with Jimmy Kimmel come January. Up Close is just a temp show that ABC put on after they canceled Bill Maher. I enjoy Nightline, and I've watched Up Close a few times when I liked who Koppel was interviewing, and as people mentioned above the Letterman interview was good.
posted by jbou at 10:21 AM on December 3, 2002

Is he as mad as hell? Is he going to refuse to take it anymore?
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:35 AM on December 3, 2002

Ted Koppel can say anything he wants except that Mickey Mouse is a facist corporatist rat! :)

Know what caused all the sickness on the Disney Magic cruise ship? Inquiring minds want to know but ABC won't report it....Welll folks....here it is! The unadulterated truth!! It was mouse droppings!
posted by nofundy at 10:56 AM on December 3, 2002

The only REAL maverick on mainstream TV is John Stossel. I can't figure out why they continue to let him on the air. A rare, genuine critical thinker; too bad he comes across as such a dork.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:10 AM on December 3, 2002

Zen... am I missing your irony? Stossel: rare? no. genuine? probably. critical? no. thinker? no. dork? yep.
posted by stonerose at 12:33 PM on December 3, 2002

Rare: because he's a libertarian in a 90+% liberal-dominated field.

Genuine: because of his guileless, dorky vehemence

Critical thinker: because he's openly skeptical of the mainstream media's party line, and offers pretty compelling reasons to be skeptical

Dork: yep.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:17 PM on December 3, 2002

And he is a robot too, lets not forget
posted by backOfYourMind at 9:55 PM on December 3, 2002

90% Liberal! Wow, Fox needs to get another cable news channel on the air, right quick, in order to balance this discrepancy out.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:36 PM on December 3, 2002

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