Last weekend on “CBS Sunday Morning,” the program tackled the problem of “The great divide: Politics in the Age of Trump” by hosting a discussion between veteran newsman Ted Koppel and Fox News’ Sean Hannity about the role of conservative voices in the direction of the country. It was readily apparent that CBS wasn’t trying to solve the divide, but rather sought to add to it. By selectively editing the wide ranging conversation between Koppel and Hannity, CBS chose to go with a zinger against Hannity in an opening salvo to bring back the “fairness doctrine” which would silence conservative thought.
Koppel railed against opinion “taking over” journalism. He went so far as saying that Hannity is “bad for America.” His reasoning is a slap in the face of the millions of American conservatives he assumes are unable to distinguish news from opinion. He further goes on to say that these conservatives’ beliefs are not fact based. Watch:
Koppel should ask himself one question: What is better: the up-front bias of Hannity or the insidious bias of newsmen like himself, who pretend to be “objective” journalists but are really just liberal mouthpieces feeding slanted news?
Koppel’s “the media is not biased” schtick is old. Here’s a great review of Koppel’s own longstanding bias as published by the Media Research Center, way back in November of 2010.
"To call something an 'enhanced interrogation technique' doesn't alter the fact that we thought it was torture when the Japanese used it on American prisoners, we thought it was torture when the North Koreans used it, we thought it was torture when the Soviets used it....You know, it's almost the moral equivalent of saying that rape is an enhanced seduction technique."
- Ted Koppel in a commentary for the BBC's World News America, May 11, 2009.
"It's a sign of the times: Thirty-five years ago, he [George W. Bush] joined the Texas Air National Guard to stay out of Vietnam. And now, he's going to Vietnam to stay out of Washington."
- Koppel joking about the President's trip to an economic summit in Vietnam, on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, November 15, 2006.
"When you say he's 'a good and decent man,' I don't know him that well personally myself, I have no way of judging one way or the other. But I must tell you I often listen to him when I'm driving into work, and what I hear on the radio is frequently - I don't want to say hateful, that's going a little too far - but he says and does things on the radio that are so disparaging of homosexuals, African-Americans, the homeless. As I say, I think it's clearly part of the act, but it's not gentlemanly, it's not kind."
- Koppel on Nightline Oct. 2, 2003 rejecting talk show host G. Gordon Liddy's description of Limbaugh.
Back in 1997, MRC’s Brent Bozell outlined the ten worst examples of Koppel’s bias up to that date. It was in response to a Koppel appearance at CPAC.
What Koppel doesn’t understand — or maybe understands all too well — is that the American people can separate opinion from news. And the American people have left those who pretend they are real journalists (but are really opinion peddlers) to watch people who are at least honest about what they claim to be.
Back to the extended version of the Koppel-Hannity debate. Hannity has asked that the full 45-minute interview be shown.
Rather than let the obviously biased Koppel get away with a one-liner on Hannity, CBS News should release the full exchange. Let the American people decide for themselves what is newsworthy. In the age of YouTube and social media, this kind of non-transparency is exactly what is driving people away from CBS and the legacy mainstream media to alternative voices.
If CBS is truly wanting to stop the political divide and polarization in this country, they should stop adding to it.