April 28, 2004

I’LL NEVER TRUST NIGHTLINE AGAIN — because its producer, Leroy Sievers, claims to be unaware of when ratings sweeps take place:

Koppel, also in the announcement, acknowledged that Memorial Day might have been “the most logical occasion” to do the program. Ya think?

“But we felt that the impact would actually be greater on a day when the entire nation is not focused on war dead,” he said.

Ah yes, and, of course, Memorial Day falls outside the May sweeps, when viewer levels are used by the networks to set advertising rates. Memorial Day is also traditionally a day of very low television viewing. He forgot to mention that stuff.

Sievers and others we spoke with at ABC News insisted they did not realize that the May sweeps start tomorrow.

So Nightline is staffed by either clueless idiots unfit to work in TV, or by shameless liars who think we’ll fall for anything. Which is it?

Who cares?

UPDATE: Reader David Whidden asks: “Did Ted Koppel ever read the names of the 3,000 people who died on September 11? Just wondering.”

Not to my knowledge.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Laurence Simon emails:

I worked at an ABC O&O down here in Houston for four and a half years. For anyone in ABC to say that they have no idea when sweeps starts, from the CEO down to a security guard, is quite possibly the most insane thing I’ve ever heard.

If he’s telling the truth, then it’s proof of why ABC is in fourth place out of the Big Three.

If he’s lying, then he’s got a bright future as a potential head of ABC News.

Heh. Meanwhile reader David Walser emails: “Maybe Ted could read the names of those Saddam would have killed, raped, or tortured had he remained in power.”

I’d settle for him reading the names of the people who got oil-money from Saddam as part of the oil-for-food scandal. . . .

MORE: Ted Koppel: “When we began taking our journalism more lightly, people began taking us less seriously.”

Well said!

STILL MORE: Reader John Reandeau emails:

If Nightline’s stunt is news and not a political statement, then why are they leaving out the names of those who have died in Operation Enduring Freedom? As Pat Tillman made us aware, we still have Americans fighting and dying in Afghanistan as well. The deliberate separation of Iraq from the rest of the War on Terror is agenda journalism at its best. I love the idea of remembering and naming our military dead. But I detest the way Koppel intends to exploit them.

-John
PS – If I had a Neilsen diary, I wouldn’t be watching.

Me neither.