Ted Koppel: ‘[Cable News] is to Journalism what Bernie Madoff was to Investment’

By Alex Weprin Comment

Former ABC anchor and current BBC “World News America” contributor¬†Ted Koppel weighs in, somewhat belatedly, on the Keith Olbermann/political donation scandal in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Koppel ties Olbermann’s donations to his thoughts on the cable news landscape as a whole:

The commercial success of both MSNBC and Fox News is a source of nonpartisan sadness for me. While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm their own biases, the trend is not good for the republic. It is, though, the natural outcome of a growing sense of national entitlement. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s oft-quoted observation that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” seems almost quaint in an environment that flaunts opinions as though they were facts.

He goes on to compare the current state of affairs in cable news to that of fraudster Bernie Madoff:

They show us the world not as it is, but as partisans (and loyal viewers) at either end of the political spectrum would like it to be. This is to journalism what Bernie Madoff was to investment: He told his customers what they wanted to hear, and by the time they learned the truth, their money was gone.

At the heart of his argument, however, is that the drive for corporate profits and the rise of cable news has resulted in the decimation of broadcast journalism.

The entire op-ed can be read here.