Deadline Extended

Know a young conservative who should be on Red Alert's 2015 '30 Under 30' List? Nominate them by May 29.

One fewer viewpoint on ‘The View’ is a loss for civil political debate

Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth HasselbeckIt’s sad, but no surprise, to see Elisabeth Hasselbeck leave ABC’s “The View” for a new gig as cohost of “Fox and Friends.” And it’s also a loss for people of all political beliefs.

For years, Hasselbeck has been the sole contrarian voice on the show, often taking a more conservative view than the other four hosts: Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters.

Frankly I am relieved for Hasselbeck. I felt stress for her because she was often outnumbered, even ganged up upon. Many conservative women know this feeling, from college or young single life, where our views are unpopular among our peers.

But Hasselbeck’s departure is a real loss to the show, and represents a broader trend of an increasingly polarized public space.

Hasselbeck did conservative women a great service during her time on “The View.” She provided a much-needed voice for Americans who identify as conservative. For many young women, she was a unique role model in the mainstream media.

But Hasselbeck was also providing a service to liberal and progressive viewers, even if they didn’t recognize it. Rather than toeing the line, she provided some pushback and challenged the other hosts. For some “View” viewers, Hasselbeck might have been the only challenging voice they heard.

It’s important and healthy for us to learn about what other people believe and why they believe it, even if in the end we agree to disagree. This skill — civil exchange of ideas — is becoming more and more rare as our country becomes more politically polarized.

As Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing wrote in their 2008 book “The Big Sort,” Americans are increasingly living in politically like-minded neighborhoods. In 1976, only 27 percent of counties in the U.S. went for Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford by 20 percentage points or more. In 2004, 48 percent of American counties went for Bush or Gore by more than 20 points. Basically, there’s a trend indicating that Americans are retreating to live among people with whom we share political views.

It seems our TV shows are following suit. Too often, ideologues appear on television shows to congratulate one another on “how right we are!”

The alternative — contrived debate between two talking heads — is not much better. The usual result is a 30-second talking-point competition. It is increasingly rare to hear an in-depth public discussion between genuine, well-meaning parties who disagree.

I’m happy for Hasselbeck, and I hope she excels on “Fox and Friends.” But her exit from “The View” is a loss — and not just for conservatives like me.

Comments

Polititainment

Anti-Stephanopoulos artwork invades NYC

Posters depicting ABC News anchor George Stephanopolous and a smiling Hillary Clinton with the words "PayPal" and "Donate" written on them have been popping up close to the studio where ABC shoots Good Morning America.

Rubio gets first celeb endorsement

The Florida senator and official GOP candidate for president has just received a big celebrity endorsement from Rick Harrison of the popular show "Pawn Stars," according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun.

Snoop Dogg endorses Hillary Clinton

Snoop Dogg became the latest rapper to endorse the Democratic presidential candidate during his appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" over the weekend.

John Oliver shocked by House NSA reform

John Oliver was shocked to hear that the House recently passed NSA reform.

Introducing the 2016 SNL primary

The weekend comedy show has been skewering candidates for president left and right -- some more than others -- so much so that we thought it a good idea to track the program's focus on specific candidates.

Video

t u

2016

AP reporter: Hillary only talking to supporters

According to Associated Press reporter Julie Pace, the small events that have made up the bulk of Hillary's presidential campaign thus far have involved the Democratic candidate only interacting with Americans who support her and not a more representative fraction of the actual U.S. population.

Sanders made $2K for paid speeches in 2014
When Bernie Sanders suggested that Hillary Clinton will have more money than him in 2016, he wasn’t kidding. The Independent senator from Vermont, who will compete with Hillary for the Democratic nomination for president next year, made a grand total of $1,867.42 for two paid speeches and a television appearance during the entire year of 2014, as […]
Hillary Clinton, "The small business president"

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton's official campaign Twitter account was operated by small-business owner Mary Jo Brown, as part of Clinton's attempt to gain support from small business owners.

50 Cent endorses Hillary Clinton

The rapper, who flip-flopped on his support for Clinton in 2008 to instead back Barack Obama, endorsed Hillary in a recent interview with The Daily Beast.

Republicans satisfied with 2016 field

According a Pew Research Center study, 57 percent of Republican and right-leaning registered voters have a favorable opinion of the crop of candidates running for their party's nomination in 2016.

Policy

Professor: Americans can't handle owning guns

In an op-ed for The Dallas Morning News, Prof. John Traphagan, who teaches religious studies and anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, demands that Americans give up gun ownership after several tragic, high-profile shootings that have taken place recently.

Obama: Climate change is a security 'threat'

Obama spoke of global warming's looming threat during his commencement address to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, Wednesday.

Poll: Most Americans highly value privacy

For all the talk about “privacy,” the word “privacy” can sometimes be a nebulous concept, about which people hold contradictory views.

Poll: Dems support federal ban on hate speech
It seems that a lot of Americans don’t think that freedom of speech should be protected anymore. A poll released Wednesday by YouGov has found that a small majority of the American public support limiting the First Amendment if it means banning hate speech. The poll, conducted in early May, asked respondents whether they would support […]
Rand Paul filibuster highlights

In the end, Rand Paul’s Patriot Act filibuster failed to crack his previous record, clocking in at roughly 10.5 hours.