Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Good Night, Ted, and Good Luck

The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley has a fittingly smart and unsentimental take on the departure of ABC's "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel, one of the few remaining giants in TV news:

"Mr. Koppel leaves at a time when younger anchors are making a name for themselves by flaunting their personal feelings on the air. During the Hurricane Katrina debacle, NBC's Brian Williams was widely applauded for venting his anger and frustration over the government's failure to act quickly to help the victims. So was Anderson Cooper, who recently replaced Aaron Brown as CNN's late night anchor and famously gave Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana an on-air tongue-lashing.

"Mr. Koppel also covered the scandal of Katrina, and was often quite scathing, asking the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael D. Brown, 'Don't you guys watch television? Don't you guys listen to the radio?' But Mr. Koppel never lost his aplomb, or his aversion to the first-person pronoun.

"And his reticence and reserve will be missed."

Nicely put.

Koppel's program has had its rough patches over the years, but such is the price of longevity. For me, he was the heir apparent to the Edward R. Murrow School of Broadcast Journalism.


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