On a special edition of CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” March 26, veteran journalist Ted Koppel interviewed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and conservative pundit Sean Hannity for a segment called “A Polarized America.”
Koppel brought up the rise of conservative media in particular, though he included liberal hosts like Rachel Maddow and John Oliver, suggesting that they were serving to further divide Americans.
Ted Koppel charged Fox News host Sean Hannity with contributing to the increased antipathy toward opposing viewpoints that is prevalent in America.
Hannity made no qualms about presenting his own conservative agenda, but objected to Koppel characterizing his viewers as not being able to discriminate editorial content from news.
Hannity, in turn, accused Koppel of “selling Americans short”:
“We have to give some credit to the American people that they’re somewhat intelligent and that they know the difference between an opinion show and a news show. You’re cynical.”
Koppel agreed that he was cynical — and that was when Hannity asked, “Do you think we’re bad for America? Do you think I’m bad for America?”
WATCH: Ted Koppel tells Sean Hannity, to his face, that he's bad for America. pic.twitter.com/aWtMeGbp8E
— Yashar (@yashar) March 26, 2017
Koppel explained that the danger came from the people Hannity had attracted to his audience — people Koppel said were “determined that ideology was more important than fact.”
Hannity pointed out that his show was supposed to be an editorial — and that everyone knew that he was a conservative with a strong opinion: “Are you against the editorial pages?”
Koppel’s response was simple: “I’m against the editorial pages taking over from the front page. I’m against the editorial pages becoming the economic engine of the network.”