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Ted Koppel to Brian Stelter: CNN’s Ratings ‘Would Be In The Toilet’ Without Trump!

Veteran journalist Ted Koppel had a fiery exchange with CNN’s senior media correspondent Brian Stelter over the co-dependent relationship between the press and President Donald Trump.

During a Monday panel discussion, Koppel began by pointing out that top media moguls like former CBS chief Les Moonves have acknowledged that despite the chaos, Trump’s candidacy and presidency have been financial beneficial to the press. But Stelter challenged Koppel’s not-so-subtle undertone about how much the media relies on Trump.

“That means what?” Stelter asked. “If ratings are up, that means what?”

“The ratings are up, that means you can’t do without Donald Trump,” Koppel responded. “You would be lost without Donald Trump.”

“Ted, you know that’s not true,” Stelter reacted.

“CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump,” Koppel doubled down.

“You know that’s not true, you’re playing for laughs,” Stelter defended his network. “You’ve lived through enough presidencies to know. There will be more presidents.”

Koppel then asked the Reliable Sources host what were CNN’s ratings before Trump versus now. Stelter gave a ballpark response of 20-40% rise in viewership.

“If we go back down 40%, that’s okay too,” Stelter added. “I reject the premise that these networks are making so much money off of Trump and thus, we benefit from it.”

The former Nightline anchor then pivoted away from the “sensitive subject” of CNN and towards MSNBC.

Stelter took to Twitter to express his admiration for Koppel, but insisted that the cable news business is “a lot more complex” than he made it seem.

Watch the clip above, via The Kalb Report.

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