Ted Koppel’s embarrassing debut as a Times columnist

Jack Shafer in Slate:

060130_press_koppelIt’s not Ted Koppel’s fault that the New York Times has made him a Times contributing columnist. As Koppel writes in yesterday’s (Jan. 29) debut column, “And Now, a Word for Our Demographic,” the invitation came from an “editor friend of mine,” so the fault belongs to whoever assigned, accepted, and edited or rewrote Koppel’s self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, late-to-the-party, and punishingly obvious 1,500-word piece about the state of television news. (It’s bad.) It’s not even Koppel’s fault if he thinks he’s any good at this columnist thing, when he isn’t. If we were to belittle every person who stretched his talents until they pop, we’d have little time for anything else.

So, my critique isn’t personal, it’s institutional. Based on what did the Times think Koppel could write a compelling newspaper column? Did they not see disaster in this piece?

More here.