Whoops: Koppel Predicted Iranians Would Hold British Hostages Until Blair Left Office

April 6th, 2007 11:29 AM

Over at the liberal website Slate.com, Jack Shafer mocks former ABC personage Ted Koppel his latest commentary for National Public Radio on Iran's British hostages, claiming "If history is any guide, Iran may wait until Tony Blair's tenure as prime minister comes to an end in a few months." Oops. Shafer also finds the subject of Iran is too close for Koppel to ignore himself:

Is there a more pompous egomaniac purring on the airwaves today than Ted Koppel?

Two days ago, the bouffanted one filed a commentary piece on NPR pegged to the seizure of 15 British sailors and marines by the Iranians. For self-obsessives like Koppel, all journalism is autobiography, so the story doesn't seem new to him. Instead, it echoes the hostage-taking of American diplomats 28 years ago in Tehran because, as Koppel doesn't have to remind listeners, it was the news event that started the show America Held Hostage that became Nightline and made his career!

Koppel's stunningly original lede: "As Yogi Berra so elegantly put it: 'It's deja vu all over again.' "

Early on, Koppel offers listeners a little self-disparagement to remind them the story is about him, noting that 28 years ago he predicted in a piece that the face-off between Iran and the West would end soon. "If, by soon, I meant 444 days, I was right on the money," he chortles.

Because it's deja vu all over again, Koppel predicts that the current incident will unfold like the last: The Iranians will humiliate Prime Minister Tony Blair—as they humiliated President Jimmy Carter—by holding the captives until a new head of state takes office.

The British sailors and marines touched down in Heathrow Airport today.

You're 2-for-2, Ted.