Ted Koppel can be annoyingly gracious at times, even when unnamed corporate
suits call his program irrelevant, as one did in The New York Times last
week by way of justifying the network's pursuit of David Letterman.
In an op-ed piece in the Times Tuesday, Koppel expressed appreciation for
the "warm and generous support" he's received since word of the Letterman talks
broke last week. (If ABC gets Letterman, the Koppel-hosted Nightline, of
course, would lose its regular spot in the late-night lineup.)
He went on to tell readers how wonderful his 39 years at ABC have been --
nothing short of "glorious."
Finally, into the last third of the piece, he gets down to the nitty-gritty.
"I have one complaint," he said, before launching into a refutation on the
relevancy charge. "I would argue that in these times, when homeland security is
an ongoing concern, when another terrorist attack may, at any time, shatter our
sense of normalcy, when American troops are engaged in Afghanistan, the
Philippines, Yemen and Georgia, when the likelihood of military action against
Iraq is growing -- when, in short, the regular and thoughtful analysis of
national and foreign policy is more essential then ever -- it is at best
inappropriate and at worst malicious to describe what my colleagues and I are
doing as lacking relevance."
Koppel signed off by hinting that he and his show might just leave ABC and
that the network would probably regret it. Talk about burying the lead.