Is there anyone in America who believes that Ted Koppel is going to dedicate an entire “Nightline” on Friday to reading the names of our war dead as an objective, even patriotic exercise? Let’s hope not. It is precisely timed (not only to goose the Nielsen numbers for sweeps) but as Koppel’s little “Mission Accomplished” anniversary middle-finger salute to the President. In the New York Times today, this denial: “Mr. Koppel said the show was not timed to mark that anniversary. ‘That is purely a coincidence,’ he said.” Sure.
Please remember what Koppel pompously announced at the outbreak of hostilities in March 2003: “Telling you if and when things are going badly for U.S. troops, enabling you to bear witness to the high cost of war, is the hard part of our job. In a famous couple of lines from the movie ‘A Few Good Men,’ Jack Nicholson, playing a Marine Colonel, snarls: ‘You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.’ Well, this is no movie. We’ll do our very best to give you the truth in the hope and the belief that you can handle it.” This show is designed to goose the poll numbers on that question “Has Iraq been worth the cost?” Koppel wants you to say “no.”