By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Ted Koppel

Nate Thayer blasts ABC over Pol Pot dispute

220px-FEER-1997Many years ago I met the journalist Nate Thayer at a party. I congratulated him on his reporting on the trial of Pol Pot, one of history’s great monsters. The trial — apparently something of a sham, as it was conducted by Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge movement, which Pol Pot led for many years — was the subject of a special report on ABC News’ “Nightline.”

Thayer told me he’d been having trouble with ABC, which approached him after he broke the story for the Far Eastern Economic Review. I have no memory of the details of what he told me, and I certainly had no idea his dispute with the network had dragged on all these years. But he has now posted a scorching entry on his blog, accusing the network and anchor Ted Koppel of wrongdoing in its dealings with him and daring ABC to come after him for violating a confidentiality agreement.

You might recall that earlier this year Thayer launched a rocket at The Atlantic after a Web editor asked him to contribute something for free — for the “exposure.” The resulting exchange set off a wide-ranging debate over free content and the difficulty that freelance journalists have finding paid work. It also led to an accusation of plagiarism against Thayer, which he vehemently denied.

Image via Wikipedia.

Ted Koppel may anchor ABC’s “This Week”

Ted Koppel

My “Beat the Press” colleague Callie Crossley has the best idea for George Stephanopoulos’ replacement on ABC’s “This Week”: Gwen Ifill, who would have been a far better choice to succeed the late Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” than David Gregory — predictably — has proved to be.

But if an Ifill hire isn’t in the works, we might get the next best thing. The Politico’s Mike Allen reports that ABC is negotiating with legendary “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel, now in busy semi-retirement, to moderate “This Week” three Sundays a month.

Koppel was one of the finest broadcast journalists of his generation — the successor to Murrow and Cronkite to a far greater extent than any of the folks who have anchored the network evening newscasts in the post-Cronkite era. He’s a tough interviewer and would bring unparalleled gravitas to the job. Ducking a question from Ted Koppel is not the same as ducking a question from Jake Tapper, Terry Moran or anyone else.

I do have one reservation. After Russert’s death in 2008, I thought retired anchor Tom Brokaw was an excellent choice to fill the moderator’s slot on an interim basis. Instead, Brokaw seemed cranky, sour and bored.

The Brokaw lesson is that it would be great to have Koppel back — but only if he’s prepared to bring his “A” game.

Photo (cc) by Tim Brauhn and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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