The Washington Post

O’Reilly, please stop sucking up to Ted Koppel

Third in a flash series.

Even before Bill O’Reilly started talking to Ted Koppel, he was playing supplicant. After apprising viewers that this beast of broadcast journalism had disapproved of cable news’s ideological split, O’Reilly said this to his viewers:

The big mistake Mr. Koppel is making is putting me, your humble correspondent, in that category of speaking to the choir. I don’t, you know it. So I had to convince Mr. Koppel of that.

No. 1: Why does Bill O’Reilly need to convince Ted Koppel of anything? Bill O’Reilly rules cable news. Bill O’Reilly is paid millions upon millions of dollars for ruling cable news.

No. 2: Just how does O’Reilly purport to, like, sit down with Ted Koppel and convince him that he doesn’t do what Koppel sees him doing on television all the time? Doesn’t O’Reilly understand that he has built up a pretty heavy video archive?

Then O’Reilly goes on to outline something that Fox anchors — himself included — attack whenever they get the chance. A position of weakness, that is. Here’s O’Reilly’s offer to Ted Koppel:

I want you to reevaluate our network, watch it a little bit more, and then we’ll talk in about a year.

Right on, Bill. The host’s plain desperation to secure the approval of TV news legend Ted Koppel suggests that this titan of cable news somehow isn’t secure in his place. That he feels conflicted about his role slapping back guests who dare defy him. That he feels less than great about driving tendentious coverage of issues night in, night out. That if only Ted Koppel could be gently convinced that he does great work, everything would be fine.

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