Bill O'Reilly was not happy about Ted Koppel's withering look at cable news on Thursday. The two recently got into a debate over the subject, which ended in Koppel blowing the Fox News host a kiss.
On Thursday's "Rock Center," Koppel argued that American politics has gotten more toxic with the rise of cable news. He has previously called the success of Fox News and MSNBC "a source of nonpartisan sadness" for him.
O'Reilly responded to the criticism Thursday. In an interview, O'Reilly wanted to know what Koppel's "beef" was with him and Fox News. Koppel alleged that the host was "too intolerant of allowing people to complete an answer" and had a tendency to "ride over people."
After defending himself, O'Reilly later insisted there was a big difference between Fox News and MSNBC. "We actually do hard news here from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. Eight hours of hard news. MSNBC doesn't do one hour of hard news. It's all, lets push the liberal democratic agenda from sign-on to sign-off. So this is a news agency here, Fox News --"
"I don't think anyone is gonna be confused as to the ideological belief of most of the people who appear on Fox," Koppel interjected. O'Reilly argued that network anchors like Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Walter Cronkite were "all left-wing guys," whose political views he said informed decisions about coverage.
Later, he challenged Koppel to watch Fox News more and "re-evaluate" the network.
Koppel ended by asking O'Reilly how the network's daytime ratings stack up with primetime. "The millions of people are watching you, Bill... those of you with a particular point of view."
"That's the free marketplace," O'Reilly said.
Koppel agreed, telling O'Reilly that cable news is "a business... and once upon a time, you and I thought journalism was a calling."
"But I still think that I'm doing something noble," O'Reilly responded. Watch Koppel respond in the clip above.