Ted Koppel of CBS Sunday Morning sits down with WBTV

Updated: Jun. 7, 2019 at 7:32 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - His in an introduction requiring few words, because Ted Koppel has been coming into our home for decades.

This revered journalist spent more than 40 years at ABC News, but his latest career choice has him cast as senior contributor for CBS Sunday Morning.

“I like the gig. They are particularly kind to elderly television correspondents, and I appreciate that. I need delicate handling at this stage of my life," Koppel said.

Koppel came to Charlotte for a fundraising event benefiting 90. 7 WFAE. A well-respected veteran of covering Capitol Hill politics, he’s hoping harmony will emerge in what some call DC dysfunction.

In a recent televised interview, he went toe-to-toe with Sean Hannity. During the exchange, the Fox News host asked, “You think I’m bad for America?“ “Yeah,” Koppel responded. “You do?” asked Hannity. Koppel’s reply: “In the long haul.”

His bold assessment of Fox News anchor Sean Hannity brought headlines and turned heads.

“If he asks you a question like that, he has to expect an honest answer,“ the CBS journalist said. "No remorse.”

Koppel has gone public by drawing attention to a family health concern of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. His wife, Grace Ann, was diagnosed some 18 years ago.

“That is a story worth telling, and I think that is a health crisis worth focusing attention on,” Koppel told WBTV.

In 1965, Selma, Alabama was an American flash-point, and Koppel, who was on assignment there, admits he was torn between covering the story or marching with protesters including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“My obligation was to tell the story as fairly, as objectively and as honestly as I could, and whatever my honest feelings were had no place in the reporting," he explained.

Ted Koppel is now 79 and doesn’t know how long he plans to stay on the job.

“Only you and the good Lord knows,” he said. ”As long as I can. I enjoy the work. I have always enjoyed it.”

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