CBS contributor and former ABC “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel told CNN’s senior media correspondent Brian Stelter that his ratings would “be in toilet” if Donald Trump weren’t president. The dis came during a panel discussion Monday for The National Press Club’s “The Kalb Report” about the state of journalism under President Trump. Mr. Stelter, a frequent critic of Mr. Trump, argued that the press is victim of a “hate movement” led by the president, who routinely lambasts CNN as “fake news.” Mr. Koppel said CNN would be nowhere without Mr. Trump. “He has been wonderful for the industry,” Mr. Koppel said. “But that means what?” Mr. Stelter asked. “If ratings are up, that means what?” “It means you can’t do without Donald Trump,” Mr. Koppel responded. “You would be lost without Donald Trump.” “Ted, you know that’s not true,” Mr. Stelter fired back. “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump,” Mr. Koppel continued. “You know that’s not true, you’re playing for laughs,” Mr. Stelter said. “You’ve lived through enough presidencies to know there will be more presidents.” Mr. Koppel asked Mr. Stelter how CNN’s ratings have changed since Mr. Trump took office, to which the “Reliable Sources” host estimated “we might be up 20, we might be up 30 percent, we might be up 40 percent.” He then insisted that it would “OK, too” if those numbers went down, prompting the rest of the panel and the audience to laugh. “I reject the premise that these networks are making so much money off of Trump and thus, we benefit from it,” Mr. Stelter said. Mr. Koppel acknowledged that criticizing CNN in Mr. Stelter’s presence was a “sensitive subject,” so he pointed to MSNBC as also profiting off covering the president’s every move. “Is there a moment of the day when they are not focusing on Donald Trump?” he mused. Mr. Stelter later addressed the exchange on Twitter, saying Mr. Koppel oversimplified the “cyclical” nature of cable news ratings.
Ted just took Brian to the cleaners.. Ted is spot on here. CNN and MSNBC would be totally lost without their pathological fixation on President Trump. To see this exchange, click on the text above. Great job Ted! 🙂