11/25/2005 09:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Ted Koppel I Knew

Ted Koppel's retirement in the midst of Plamegate focuses attention on the most pressing issue facing American journalism: its abdication of its responsibility to expose government wrongdoing and lies. It is critical to raise our sights above the minutiae of Plamegate -- what Miller, Cheney, Woodward, Libby, Sulzberger, Cooper, Rove, Russert, Novak and Downie said to each other and when -- to the real issue involved: how democracy is weakened when journalists trade access to high officials in return for direct or indirect support of governmental misdeeds … The issue isn't Ted himself but what he symbolizes: the institutional and structural corruption of an American media that has chosen to define "news" primarily as the information it receives from American officials, and which has traded a critical and independent stance for "access" to powerful figures. As long as the TV lead and Page One stories primarily come, directly or indirectly, from government officials, and as long as critics and dissenting information are ignored or relegated to page A18, Ted Koppel will be the best we get.

Read the rest of the piece at Salon