This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight in "Your America," some of the hot button political issues of late appear to have been ignored by the mainstream media. From tea parties to town halls, Van Jones to Kevin Jennings, some prominent media outlets, well, they're nowhere to be found.
So where is the outrage? Joining me now to talk about this and much more is the anchor of "This Week" and ABC News, chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos.
Welcome to "Hannity." Glad you're here.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Hey, Sean, how is it going? Good to be here.
HANNITY: We appreciate it. And by the way, in fairness to you, you come on the radio with me, you come on TV. Not everybody in your position in the mainstream media wants to do that. Why are they — why is there this reluctance?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know I don't really know. I love the engagement. I want to reach out and talk to as many people as I can. I love talking about the issues. Love sparring even when we do and even learn things sometimes.
HANNITY: Now that's my goal, George. I'm trying to drag you over to the right side.
Anyway, I appreciate you being here. We just did a segment, we've been doing this now for quite a while. This guy, Kevin Jennings. He's our safe schools "czar "and here's a guy, George, he writes the foreword for a book, "Queering of Elementary Education."
He himself tells the story, how he gives advice to a 15-year-old boy who's having sex with an older man. His only advice was did you wear a condom? He praises Harry Hay. This guy, you know, associated with the group NAMBLA.
How does a person like that get in the White House and how does the mainstream media not cover it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know — I don't think you have the goods on this one, Sean. And listen, I — last year, we've talked about this. You know I thought it was absolutely appropriate to ask President Obama during the campaign about Bill Ayers. No question about that.
Of all the Sunday show hosts, I was the only one to ask him about the ACORN controversy a couple of weeks ago. I think even on Van Jones, the guy has had a good career but there's no question that after some of the things that came out the White House had to cut him loose.
But on this one, and I don't know Kevin Jennings. I've never met him. But looking at the record, it does seem to me that you got a guy here who's committed his life to teaching and to education. Who's been, you know, praised by more national organizations that you can count.
And I'm not going to sit here and defend everything he ever said at any moment in his life. I don't think anybody can stand up to that kind of scrutiny. But just on one thing you brought up there, it's my understanding that in that incident when he was back at Concord Academy, the student was 16, and it didn't raise the kind of complications that you talked about.
But as I said, I don't know him. I've never met him. But, from everything I can tell, he's had a very strong career.
HANNITY: All right. Let me examine this. First of all, it was Jennings, it's not Sean Hannity that said the kid was 15. And I know this kid Brewster now says he was 16.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, but we've seen the license, right? I mean.
HANNITY: Well, wait a minute.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I've seen the license. I looked at it.
HANNITY: You're looking at media matters, because you're looking at this left wing Web site. But here's what we know.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I just saw the license. That's all I'm saying. I saw the license.
HANNITY: All right. But, you don't know the exact date when they had the conversation. Do you?
STEPHANOPOULOS: We know that — we know that — I mean, we know that — at the time that Jennings — it only could have happened — I'm mixing up the years now. It was 1987 or 1988, the kid had to have been 16 because he wouldn't have been 15 when Jennings was actually teaching at the school.
HANNITY: George. George, where do you think I got the age 15 from? I got that from Kevin Jennings himself. Kevin Jennings said he was 15.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And he — then he misspoke.
HANNITY: He misspoke. Well, I'm glad you — have you ever interviewed him?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I just told you I've never met the man. But I've seen the license.
HANNITY: All right. You've seen the license. He praises a guy from the North American Man/Boy Love Association as somebody who inspired him. He forewords a book, writes a foreword for "Queering Elementary Education."
You really don't see anything wrong or any questions as a top mainstream media anchor that needs to be asked of this White House on this?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think — we've looked into this. And the — the thing you mentioned about Harry Hay.
HANNITY: He praised him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: My understanding is — he praised him. He gave a speech in 1997, one line of praise for a man who was a pioneer in the gay civil rights movement. And the difference is of opinion over that activity.
HANNITY: He was associated with NAMBLA, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, from my research, he wasn't a member. At one point, what, in 1993 he might have said something. Again, I'm not going to vouch for him in that respect. I'm not going to say that everything that Jennings said in his life can stand up to scrutiny. Even Jennings himself has said that he wishes he would have said things differently at different times.
HANNITY: But rather than make.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you have to put — now come on, just let me finish this one point. You have to put a person's career in context. You have to look at his whole career and I think if you look at his whole career, you see a man who's dedicated his life to teaching and to educate.
And I don't believe — listen, I think when people have done wrong, in the government service, they should be held accountable. There is no question about that. I think I've shown that in my career as a journalist. But I also don't believe that people should be hounded. Especially out of government service, in public service because of some comments they may have made.
HANNITY: George, hang on a second.
STEPHANOPOULOS: sometime in their life.
HANNITY: Well, I don't care whether he was 15 or 16. If a kid in the sophomore.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you do acknowledge now that he was probably 16?
HANNITY: No, no, no. No. Jennings said 15. This kid Brewster said 16. I saw the exact report that you're talking about. I don't know.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You saw the license, right?
HANNITY: I don't have a timeline. You don't have a timeline, nobody's questioned Jennings himself. But regardless, the kid's a sophomore in high school, says he's having sex with an older man. And the only advice that — you said look at his whole career — that he gave this boy by his own admission was did you use a condom?
In the case of — you know you say we can't look at one aspect of your life. But if you ever give any voice of praise.
HANNITY: Let me finish.
HANNITY: If you every give any words of praise for a guy associated with the North American Man/Boy Love Association, you're not qualified in my opinion, George, to be the safe schools czar.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wouldn't do it, as far as I know, Jennings didn't know about that association. And as far as I know, also Hay said he was never a member. So.
HANNITY: He was associated with him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I don't know exactly what that means. And I think we always have to be careful about that word, association. But I do think if you — again.
HANNITY: George, let me put on the cover of NAMBLA's own bulletin. The "NAMBLA Bulletin." Harry Hay is on the cover. Right there. It's on our screen right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I can't see it right now. I can't.
HANNITY: Harry Hay is on the cover of NAMBLA's own bulletin.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When was that?
HANNITY: This was when Harry Hay passed away in 2002. He was well- known for his advocacy of NAMBLA.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So that five years after Jennings gave this speech where he might have mentioned Hay.
HANNITY: But he was — he was associated with him for a long time, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, I don't — I don't know anything about that. I know that he gave — that Jennings gave a speech once in 1997 where he said — where he praised Hay as leader in the gay civil rights movement.
HANNITY: But instead of making excuses, I guess this is my point. I guess you should be asking — in my opinion, I think the mainstream media ought to be saying to the Obama administration, sit down with us. What did he know about Harry Hay? What — did he not — when he made those comments.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No. Well, I think our responsibility is to look into the issue. I looked into the issue. And I think that when you look at it, there are a lot of answers to questions you're raising.
HANNITY: All right. Let me give you one more — we'll stay on the "czars" issue for just one more second. You've got the Van Jones controversy, I think, virtually ignored by the mainstream media.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I asked about it on my show and you know we definitely reported it.
HANNITY: And I did give you credit both on my radio show and here when you did ask the Bill Ayers question. But I've got to tell you the mainstream media was six to eight months behind FOX and behind talk radio.
You've got a guy, Holdren, who's also one of these "czars," who advocated for sterilization of women and Cass Sunstein who literally wants to ban hunting and give lawyers to animals in the court of law.
Don't you think that there are too many people around the president that seem to have these rather extreme points of view?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, I can't say that I do. Cass Sunstein went through an entire hearing on Capitol Hill. He's a well respected law professor at the University of Chicago. He certainly has looked into a lot of different issues. But again, I just think that in that case, there's a man who's well qualified for his job.
HANNITY: All right. George Stephanopoulos, it's always fun. Thank you for being with us.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It sure is. Thank you, Sean.
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