Ted Koppel: Media Must Give Public What It Needs, Not What It Wants

Did he just newsplain us?

Veteran ABC News journalist Ted Koppel thinks it’s best if the media decides what the public needs, and what they need, according to the noted leftist, is to be “well educated” about politics by people like himself.

In a video for Signature Views, Koppel pines for the old days of news broadcasting, “40 years ago” when families “gathered around the flickering television hearth” every night to watch ABC, or CBS, or NBC News.

“And in those days, the networks really believed that they had a responsibility to give the public what it needed to know,” Koppel says. “And to a large extent, there was sort of a commonality about the American experience of watching network television in the evening.”

But then the darkness came, and Americans started to get their news from other places, like Fox News and the internet, and that competition stole the limelight from Koppel and even more so, the sole power of shaping the news those hypnotized by the flashing TV light were consuming. Koppel laments that these days, news outlets are catering to what the public wants, and he knows better:

“The problem is that what the public needs – to be well educated and to participate in the political process – isn’t always what it wants to hear. What people want to hear is what’s going on in Hollywood, what’s happening on the weather front, what’s the latest scandal, what’s the impact of the latest terrorist attack. What it needs to know sometimes is a lot more complex.”

It’s actually simple, Ted. The public wants the truth. That’s it. What they don’t want to hear is what YOU think they need to know.