Hoyer: Today’s journalists ‘see their job not to inform but to incite’

“Rock Center” | Greta Van Susteren
In two segments Thursday night on “Rock Center,” Ted Koppel spoke with Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and David Carr about the business of broadcasting hate.

Fox brings in a billion dollars a year, Carr told Koppel. It caters, he said, to viewers who feel like, “we’re here in the bunker, they’re after us.”

Coulter would not stipulate that civil discourse has coarsened. “Back when you thought we were living in peace and harmony, we just felt like we were under attack,” she told Koppel.

“The bar for civility on cable television and talk radio has fallen so low,” Koppel said, “that by comparison [Bill] O’Reilly seems almost reasonable.”

O’Reilly agreed:

You can make money by assassinating people that differ from you. There’s a success that wants everybody to come into the tent and watch. That’s me. And then there’s the success where you make money speaking to the choir, the haters. So if you’re a liberal, they hate George W. Bush. They hate him, so you smash him every single day. Same thing on the other side. They hate President Obama. … You look for ways to smash him. You don’t really care what the truth is, you just want to smash him. You can make a lot of money doing that, especially if you do it loud enough and vicious enough. And that’s what happened once cable news went up. You had some of those people come in. Some of them have washed up, but some of them haven’t. And it’s nasty.

U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer implied to Koppel that the demonizing went beyond cable:

Today’s journalists, too often, because it’s profitable to do so and it builds audiences, see their job not to inform but to incite, to get people riled up, to get their juices running. People tend to choose to watch the channel that doesn’t give them facts, doesn’t make them think, but makes them think their views are the views, they’re accurate. And the other guys are bad dumb, wrong, the enemy.

As for the impact, Carr gets the last word. “I think it’s an existential threat to our perfect union, I really do. … People tune in for the warfare and they’re not interested in the fruits of peace.” Peace, Carr says, is “bad television. Who’d want to watch that?”

Related: Bill O’Reilly interviews Ted Koppel | Greta Van Susteren’s takeaway from the interviews, “Broadcast news people may have deluded themselves into thinking that they are pure because they often show no passion in their voices or volume in the talk. A modulated voice and soft volume does not mean no bias. It only means modulated voice and soft volume. They THINK their bias is not shown (or even that they have none) and therein lies their self delusion.” | Why Bill O’Reilly won’t be the next anchor of the evening news || Watch the videos below.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/syanoski Sheryl Yanoski

    I believe these people are not real Journalists; they are NO
    better than gang or cult leaders and shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves “Journalists”. Don’t they realize that what they are doing
    is fueling the fire of what is wrong with America and the rest of the World? They are fueling fear, prejudice and hatred. I bet
    if you asked that “so called” film maker who made that short film about Muslim’s
    that cause the deaths of four Americans including our American Ambassador,
    Christopher Stevens. And if you also
    asked the young college man that shot up and killed all those people in the
    Theater in Colorado a few months ago. You
    would probably find out that they both watched FOX on a regular bases. This type of “SO CALLED JOURNALISTS” are
    helping bring down America from within and I believe (without realizing it) helping
    the militant
    Islamist group “Al Qaeda” bring down America too.

    It is too bad that so many people really believe this”FAUX” News
    that they are airing.

  • r.l.newsom

    You seem to have made an error of omission which I see constantly: a refusal of print media to recognize the undeniable inferiority, as a whole, of television news compared to print, as a whole. Print screens for literacy, television does not. Of course print is better. I suspect print media reflexively knee-jerks away from accusations which would occur, were this to be pointed out, of “elitism.” Which is fatal: illiterates are not equal, and by an unconscious decision to posit that illiterates and literates are somehow equal, print may encourage the very erosion by which their existence is now threatened. Grow a pair.

  • http://maximizesocialmedia.com/ social media agency

    L. Cook

    I can’t remember the last time I watched anything that was unbiased. The only way you can get at anything any where near the facts is to watch both sides and sort through the lies. Somewhere amongst all the propaganda lies a shred of truth. But you have to watch both sides to get it. If you are watching just FOX or just CNN, then you are not getting the full story.