Here's my transcript, starting after a brief exchange where O'Leary was merely generally snide and rude, but not specifically offensive to Hedges, the guest host (Amanda Lang was off) asks Hedges what the protestors want:
Host: What is the sense you have of what this movmement would like to see happen?
Hedges: They know precisely what they want, they want to reverse the corporate coup that's taken place in the United States and rendered the citizenry impotent, and they won't stop until that happens. Frankly if we don't break the back of corporations we're all finished anyways since they're rapidly trashing the ecosystem on which the human species depends for life. This is literally a fight for life, it's that grave it's that serious. Corporations, unfettered capitalism as Karl Marx understood, is a revolutionary force. It commodifies everything; human beings, the natural world, which it exploits for profit until exhaustion or collapse. The bottom line is that we don't have much time left. We're on the cusp of perhaps another major banking crisis in Europe, defaults in Greece, followed by Spain, Portugal. There's been no restrictions, no regulations of Wall Street, they've looted the US treasury, they've played all the games that they were playing before and we're all about to pay for it all over again.
O'Leary: Listen, don't take this the wrong way, but you sound like a left wing nutbar. if you want to shut down every corporation and every bank, where are you going to get a job? Where's the economy going to go?It really must have been Hedges mentioning Marx that set him off and like Pavlov's dog, O'Leary just can't help but go for crude insults (and what is the "right" way to take a comment like that?). Hedges manages to keep his cool in the small exchange the follows (which I didn't transcribe) until the guest host interjects to refer back to O'Leary's offensive comment, and starting with Hedges, they get back into it:
CH: I don't usually go on shows where people descend to character assassination, if you want to discuss issues, that's fine, but this sounds like Fox News, and I don't go on Fox News. I mean, either you discuss the issues, and look, you have had eloquent writers, people like John Ralston Saul in Canada, who have laid this out with incredible lucidity, and to somehow attack this critique by calling someone a nutcase, engages in the kind of trash talk that has polluted the corporate airwaves.What exactly is the importance of the difference between calling someone a "nutcase" and a "nutbar"? Notice too how he again tries to derail the discussion into a comfortable venue where he can just write off Hedges as a "left wing extremist" and thus ignore his commentary. I don't necessarily like talk of "true conservatives" but it is a nice way of turning O'Leary's attack on him by pointing out the very reasonable and non-radical goals of the protests, in terms comfortable to conservatives, the rule of law.
KO: Excuse me, let's debate the issues then.
CH: Well you were the one who started it.
KO: I didn't call you a nutcase, I called you a nutbar.
CH: You said [I] sounded like a "left wing nutcase."
CH: Well, that's an insult.
KO: (interrupts) Hey, are you left wing leaning at least? Would you say?
CH: No, I would say...
KO: (interrupts) You're a centrist?
CH: Can I finish?
CH: I would say that those who are protesting the rise of the corporate state are the true conservatives because they're calling for the restoration of the rule of law. The radicals have seized power and they have trashed all regulations and legal impediments to a reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism.
But here's how the interview ends:
Host: (upbeat) Well thanks so much for joining us...This interview was disgusting and a travesty of CBC programming. I'm barely able to tolerate O'Leary's Gordon Gekko meets Jim Cramer meets Rick Santelli routine on the best of days, but when he succeeds in getting an imporant and insightful commentator like Chris Hedges to swear off appearing on the CBC (and most likely depriving Canadians of his voice) I really have to draw a line. CBC, fire this asshole. I'm sick of this him polluting the airwaves and it's time for him to be shown the door. He's not entertaining, insightful and the only value the show ever has are the moments where the normal co-host, journalist Amanda Lang amusingly bats down his radical right wing nonsense, are definitely not worth the price of having this guy.
CH: Well, it will be the last time. (removes earpiece with expression of disgust)
There's no excuse for treating an invited guest to the show like that, particularly one who has no particular reason to come on Canadian TV and has no particular agenda in Canada. There was no reason for an openly hostile line of questioning and badgering, trying to make the issue about Hedges rather than the behaviour of the Wall Street elites. I think the CBC's attempt to placate Canadian conservative complaints about the network's supposed liberal bias by having a guy like O'Leary "balanced" by a mostly straight journalist in Lang is pointless and counterproductive (it pisses off people who like the network while doing nothing to persuade critics who will call for its defunding no matter what) but fine, if you insist on having a conservative, find a better one who at least doesn't drive off useful and interesting guests from coming back.
A more worthwhile right wing host might have asked Hedges a useful line of skeptical questioning about the statement quoted above, what does Hedges mean by "breaking the backs" of corporations? O'Leary jumps to the conclusion that it means "shutting them down" but it isn't clear what Hedges meant exactly, what did Hedges mean by "unfettered capitalism" and did that mean he thinks some form of "fettered" capitalism would be viable? I think I know the answers to these questions since I'm fairly familiar with Hedges' work, but CBC's audience was denied any useful clarification by O'Leary's boorish attempt to caricaturize Hedges rather than explore his position.
It should be said too that the guest host was useless, where I think normally Lang might have intervened to some extent, but still the primary fault is O'Leary's.
There's also the serious issue that O'Leary runs an investment fund company while holding a major media platform with which to talk up and down stocks that his funds may hold or want to buy. It's a huge conflict of interest and I have never once seen O'Leary swear off buying or selling any of the companies discussed on the air. At least let's get an analyst who isn't also an active player in the game.
CBC, it's time to end Kevin O'Leary's run. In his own harsh view of the business world, an employee is either an asset or a liability, and O'Leary is not an asset.