NEW YORK — ABC News announced Tuesday that Ted Koppel will devote Friday’s entire broadcast of “Nightline” to reading the names and showing pictures of the 500 U.S. military servicemen and -women killed in action in Iraq.
The unusual tribute comes as the White House and Pentagon continue to block the press from photographing the coffins of slain soldiers and other military personnel as they are transported home. For any president, such images can easily become a political liability.
ABC News will simulcast the special broadcast, titled “The Fallen,” on its huge screen in New York’s Times Square.
Koppel’s show, which airs at 11:35, will use photographs and information from the Army Times Publishing Co.’s online “Faces of Valor” database.
“Nightline” exec producer Leroy Sievers said the Iraq casualties are on their way to becoming “just numbers.” He said the “Nightline” tribute is “our way of reminding our viewers — whether they agree with the war or not — that beyond the casualty numbers, these men and women are serving in Iraq in our names, and that those who have been killed have names and faces.”
In making the announcement, “Nightline” included a list of the soldiers who will be honored during the broadcast.