I notice that Ted Koppel, formerly the host of ABC News' late-night news program "Nightline," got a certain amount of Internet buzz out of his grilling of Sean Hannity on today's edition of "CBS News Sunday Morning." This grilling culminated in Koppel's assertion that Hannity, and others like him, have "attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts." You can see this portion of the interview here.
My first reaction to this was, well, better late than never.
After all, it was Koppel, and his relentless prosecution of then-President Jimmy Carter during the Iranian hostage crisis, that helped propel Ronald Reagan and his faith-based politics, including his faith-based economics, into the White House, and subsequently poison our politics over the last 40 years as Koppel, and other right-leaning reporters, helped Americans across the country to determine that "ideology is more important than facts."
And it didn't help that Koppel had the Rev. Jerry Falwell on "Nightline" as an almost nightly guest, ready, willing and able to use the program as an expansion of his political "ministry." Guests from the other side of the political spectrum were fewer and further between. To be sure, this trend began to abate in the wake of the televangelical scandal of the late 1980s. And Koppel was also one of the first reporters to focus an entire program on global warming (in 1989, no less). But there's no doubt that Koppel's earlier work on "Nightline" helped to make the world of television journalism safer for the Sean Hannitys of the world.
Perhaps this interview is Koppel's way of doing penance. He should know that there are many people, including me, that are not going to let him off the hook quickly.