Sean Hannity trashing the media is a nightly occurrence on his self-titled Fox News talk show, but it became a headline on Sunday (March 26) after Ted Koppel bluntly told the conservative he was “bad for America.”
Koppel was praised by many on social media, and most of the page-one headlines when Googling “Sean Hannity” were in some vein of AOL’s “Watch Ted Koppel tell Sean Hannity that Hannity is ‘bad for America’ — to his face.”
But the outspoken conservative took to Twitter after the two minutes of the interview aired telling the world there was another side to the story and that CBS News needed to air the “entire 45-minute interview.”
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) March 26, 2017
Before getting into the full comments of Sean Hannity, here’s the setup. The conservative and Koppel were having a spirited debate regarding the role of opinion shows in the new media landscape.
Koppel said he was uncomfortable whenever opinions crowded out reporting, to which Hannity asked Koppel if he thought he was “bad for America.”
“Yep,” Koppel said, adding, “You know why? Because you’re very good at what you did and because you have attracted… people who have determined that ideology is more important than facts.”
Koppel also pointed out the Federal Communications Commission’s 1987 decision to overturn the Fairness Doctrine, which had charged radio and TV programs to present both sides of a political issue. “Free of the Fairness Doctrine, Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio exploded into a political force of nature,” Koppel added.
Sean Hannity was clearly not a fan of how the exchange was reported, so in a series of tweets, he attempted to set the record straight, noting that the whole interview was 45 minutes, “you aired two.”
He then called it “Fake ‘edited’ news,” adding, “Why did Ted cut out my many examples of media bias?”
“I gave… example after example of why I say ‘journalism is dead.’ I also gave many examples of how liberalism has failed,” Hannity said. Then, in a tweet directly to CBS News, Sean demanded to “release the Unedited 45 minute interview so people can see the BS games you play in the edit room. I dare you!”
Finally, Sean moved to one unaired exchange between him and Koppel, calling it “Funny” that “behind the scenes After (sic) I answered the first question, Ted said ‘none of that will air.’ So I kept saying, ‘Ted, (you) need to keep this in.'”
— CitizenSlant (@CitizenSlant) March 26, 2017
Thus far, CBS News has not responded to Sean Hannity on his request to release the whole interview.
Given that Sean chose to appear on Koppel’s show and the footage is owned outright by the news network, they are under no obligation to do so.
To be fair to Hannity, there is some precedent for deceptive editing practices against conservatives. One recent example — detailed here by NPR — involved Yahoo news anchor Katie Couric, who took heat over a documentary promoting gun control that edited footage in a way to make a pro-gun group appear at a loss for words to a seemingly tough question Couric had asked.
The question? “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun.”
The footage made the Virginia Citizens’ Defense League look stupid, but as Philip Van Cleave, the group’s president, pointed out, “That was not a tough question. That was not a question that our members would not know the answer to. It’s kind of like sins of omission.”
Couric later issued an apology confirming the League’s complaints about the footage were accurate. In September, the group filed a $12 million defamation suit against Couric and the makers of Under the Gun.
But in the case of Sean Hannity, what do you think really happened? Should CBS News release the footage? Sound off in the comments section below.