Having been an admirer of Nightline since I was in my teens, I watch it whenever I can. One would be hard put to find a program that has consistently reported on serious issues with both professionalism and empathy more often than Nightline. So, when the some folks began trying to bully Ted Koppel (pictured) into not running Friday's program, a tribute to Americans who have died in military service in Iraq, I was steadfastly in his corner. Nothing I've read or heard since has changed my mind, including viewing the show.
WCJB in Gainesville, Florida reported on an effort by an affiliate group to stifle Koppel.
The ABC news program Nightline will devote a special edition of its broadcast Friday night to US troops. Anchorman Ted Koppel will read the name of every soldier who has died in Iraq. The broadcast is being called "The Fallen." But, viewers in eight cities will not see Nightline the special because Sinclair Media Group objects to the format.
People in Gainesville we spoke to say they have no problem with the program. Tinone Purton says, "I feel like it’s a good gesture to read out the names of all the men and women who took the courage and went out and died for the country." Deloris Gaitainus agrees, "I realize that some people are concerned about it bringing up the bad memories, but for people that have suffered that loss, the memories are there." Eric Bendler is a reservist, "It seems like a large pill to swallow to put it on a prestigious show like Nightline."
A pill Sinclair says their viewer's don't need to swallow. Vice President Mark Hyman told ABC news that, "We don't want to see Nightline trivialize the deaths of our brave service men in the fashion that they are doing."
Trivialize? The program consisted of the names of the service men and women being read aloud while photographs of them, usually in uniform, were shown. The only trivial aspect of it as broadcast on KATU here, was that a disclaimer, basically apologizing for daring to air "The Fallen," ran in place of commercials. The interruptions deprived the program of what would have otherwise been a dignified display. The disclaimer also revealed the station's management to be craven people.