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Ted Koppel: Trump’s Perception That the ‘Establishment Press’ Is ‘Out to Get Him’ Is ‘Not Mistaken’

Earlier this month, legendary newsman Ted Koppel spoke with journalist and author Marvin Kalb on the topic of challenges faced by the traditional press, including from technology like Twitter, and from political attacks like those of President Donald Trump on traditional media.

Stepping off-brand for most journalists, Koppel––in a discussion this month highlighted by NewsBusters Tuesday and Nicholas Ballasy at the time––gave credence to the notion of a press that is politically biased and motivated to take down Trump.

The discussion and Q&A at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was under the heading “The War on the Press,” and it was well into the discussion when Koppel brought up the President’s view that they are out to get him, so to speak. They had just wrapped a part of the discussion (full video below) covering the impact of instant, on-demand, self-publishing via mediums like Twitter, which Koppel presented as near-doom for prestige media. Kalb said that places like the New York Times and the Washington Post retained their prestige and credibility even with Trump, and Koppel broached the subject of a war on the president.

“I’m terribly concerned that when you talk about the New York Times these days, when you talk about the Washington Post these days, we’re not talking about the New York Times of 50 years ago. We are not talking about the Washington Post of 50 years ago,” he said. “We’re talking about organizations that I believe have, in fact, decided as organizations that Donald J. Trump is bad for the United States.”

He continued, explaining the change.

“We have things appearing on the front page of the New York Times right now that never would have appeared 50 years ago. Analysis, commentary on the front page,” said Koppel.

He referred to the coverage during the campaign of Trump’s infamous comments on the Access Hollywood tape, and his reaction upon seeing the story for the first time in the NYT. “I turned to my wife and I said, the Times is absolutely committed to making sure that this guy does not get elected,” he said.

“So his perception that the establishment press is out to get him–doesn’t mean that great journalism is not being done. It is,” he added. “But the notion that most of us look upon Donald Trump as being an absolute fiasco…he’s not mistaken in that perception, and he’s not mistaken when so many of the liberal media, for example, described themselves as belonging to the Resistance.”

That is a pretty heavy criticism, particularly considering the context and subject of the discussion, the venue, the person with whom he was speaking, and his career as a respected journalist and broadcaster.

For his part, Kalb, whose book is titled “Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy”, objected and said that the reason so many negative stories are written about Trump, and the legacy media cover negative news about Trump is because there is so much of it and “he deserves it.”

Here is the full discussion, courtesy of the Pulitzer Center.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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