CBS’s Ted Koppel views Sean Hannity and “all these opinion shows” as damaging to America.
In a segment ostensibly examining political and partisan polarization across the news media landscape and America more broadly, Koppel waxed nostalgic for an earlier era of greater partisan and political homogeneity across news media outlets.
“Do you think I’m bad for America?” asked Hannity of CBS’s Ted Koppel.
“Yeah,” replied Koppel, describing the work of openly opinionated news media personalities as damaging to America “in the long haul.”
“You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts,” said Koppel to Hannity.
“That’s sad, Ted,” said Hannity to Koppel. “You’re selling the American people short,” he added, describing Americans as broadly able to discern between facts and opinions.
Koppel described the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine – a former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy mandating news media broadcasters’ coverage of “controversial issues” be fair per the FCC’s opinion – as facilitating the creation of “two separate worlds” of politics via the ascendance of Rush Limbaugh.
Advocates for the Fairness Doctrine described the federal government’s control of political and partisan editorializing among news media broadcasters as serving “the public interest.” They credited the Fairness Doctrine with allowing Americans a “reasonable opportunity [to consume] the presentation of contrasting viewpoints.” “The right of the viewing and listening public to suitable access to the marketplace of ideas,” they added, “justifies restrictions on the rights of broadcasters [to determine their own editorial perspectives].”
As the internet’s rise loosens the strangehold over the dissemination and filtration of information previously held by traditional news media outlets, news media personalities such as Koppel lament their diminishing roles as curators of American politics.
Barack Obama expressed similar frustrations with the news media landscape’s contemporary fragmentation, pining for a previous era of an oligopolistic news media industry.
Many left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets are pushing a narrative of a “post-truth” era of politics and news media, presenting Trump and the ascendance of right-wing and conservative news media outlets as joint catalysts for this supposedly new phenomenon.
This narrative’s subtext includes the implication that Americans, broadly, are incapable of discerning between fact, fiction, and opinion in their news media consumption. This alleged widespread inability justifies governmental management of news media operations lest Americans be led astray by mendacious news media figures.
The Oxford English dictionary selected “post-truth” as 2016’s word of the year.
Koppel presents himself as an objective and non-partsian news media personality. CBS likewise presents itself as an objective and non-partisan news outlet.
H/T Josh Feldman at Mediaite
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