Mehdi Hasan, the British-American journalist who hosts Peacock’s “The Mehdi Hasan Show,” said inviting Republicans onto news/interview shows like his for a debate has become a “supply and demand issue” given the dearth of right-leaning voices who are willing to be challenged for their views on air.
“Do Republicans want to come on shows like ours when they have their own safe space of right-wing media, not just Fox now, but the Newsmaxes and OANs to indulge them?” Hasan said during a Wednesday panel at the Television Critics Association press tour. “The old days also required Republicans to be willing to put themselves forward.”
Hasan pointed to John Bolton, the former Trump administration national security adviser, as an example of an “old school” Republican who is willing to have an argument and defend his positions on a show like Hasan’s. “But there’s very few like that these days,” he said. “It’s funny, the same people who go on about snowflakes are pretty thin-skinned themselves.”
On the “demand” side of the issue, Hasan said, many news show hosts may not even want to invite Republicans as guests for fear they might spread misinformation on air.
“Do I want to give a platform to people who are going to come on and say the election was won by Donald Trump? There’s a real problem now in the media where it’s not about left versus right or Democrat versus Republican. It’s about fact-based versus non-fact-based, truth versus lie,” Hasan said.
“Do we want to play that role? It’s a really tricky question,” he continued. “But, you know, my first commitment is to truth and fact, not to kind of bipartisanship or both sides.”