This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 20, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, FNC HOST: "Personal Story Segment" tonight, legendary broadcaster Ted Koppel not a big fan of cable news. In fact he thinks it has harmed journalism in America. Writing in "The Washington Post" Koppel said, quote, "The commercial success of both Fox News and MSNBC is a source of nonpartisan sadness for me. While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm their own biases, but the trend is not good for the republic," unquote.
The big mistake Mr. Koppel is making is putting me your humble correspondent in that category of speaking to the choir. I don't. You know it. So I had to convince Mr. Koppel of that. I spoke with him a couple of weeks ago.
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O'REILLY: So why don't you define for the vast FACTOR audience your beef with me and Fox News. What's your beef?
KOPPEL: Well, I don't have a beef with you. I really don't. Let me modify that a little bit. I think there are times when you are -- what's the phrase you like so much -- a bold and --
KOPPEL: -- and fresh.
O'REILLY: Piece of humanity.
KOPPEL: Sometimes a little too bold, sometimes a little too fresh, sometimes a little too intolerant of allowing people to complete an answer.
O'REILLY: Does that -- does that offend you?
KOPPEL: Does it offend me? It offends me when you're rude. It offends me when you -- when you ride over people, which you have a tendency to do.
O'REILLY: But I only do it when they filibuster or when they lie, as Barney Frank did that one time. I don't do it when somebody is sincerely trying to answer my question. It's not like it used to be.
KOPPEL: Fifteen years ago, there was a crying need for a network that focused more on conservative issues. Fox has done that.
MSNBC has now come along and tried to provide not because it saw the need for an ideological balance, but because it saw the balance sheet.
O'REILLY: Yes they were getting their butt kicked. But there is a big difference between Fox News and MSNBC. You know what the difference is?
KOPPEL: Well, tell me.
O'REILLY: No but do you know what it is?
KOPPEL: I'm asking you. What do you think it is?
O'REILLY: So you concede you don't know what it is?
KOPPEL: I don't know what it is, no.
O'REILLY: We actually do hard news here from 9:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon.
O'REILLY: Eight hours of hard news.
O'REILLY: All right, MSNBC doesn't do one hour of hard news. It's all let's push the liberal Democratic agenda, from sign on to sign off. So this is a news agency here.
KOPPEL: I don't think anyone is going to be confused as to the ideological belief of most of the people who appear on Fox.
O'REILLY: I think that's grossly unfair to the hard news reporters. Ok? If you look at our bureau system and the people we have reporting, the network is more traditional, I think that's a fairer term than the other network news and they give weight to people, the commentators and the people that they hire.
Now, if you look at all of the journalists and we can tick them down if you want, all right -- Rather, Brokaw, Cronkite, they're all left-wing guys, all of them; and you know that.
KOPPEL: Hold on. I would argue that back in the day, you didn't know what Cronkite was.
O'REILLY: If you were in Iowa you didn't know. But if you're working at CBS News you damn well knew because I worked there.
KOPPEL: You -- you may have known what he was off camera, but you didn't know what he was on camera.
O'REILLY: But decisions were made about personnel, story coverage and point of view by Cronkite, Brokaw and Rather who were committed left- wingers.
KOPPEL: Bill -- and Koppel, you might as well add him into the mix.
O'REILLY: You weren't, you know, I think you were just in a daze all the time. I don't think you really interfered that much. I was at ABC and I heard the scuttlebutt about you. You weren't a big interferer. You weren't. And Jennings wasn't either. Jennings didn't like all that ideology. He didn't.
KOPPEL: Yes you know --
O'REILLY: That's why I didn't bring his name up.
KOPPEL: You know I'd rather you criticize me because your compliments are more damaging and more devastating --