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

Michael Bay might direct Benghazi movie

Bay, who has spent the last several years gaining popularity for his "Transformers" films, is reportedly in talks to direct the Benghazi film "13 Hours," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Holder wants Denzel to play him in movie

Holder spoke to The Hill about Hollywood and politics while at an event at the Washington Ideas Forum Wednesday that was hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

'Rival Survival' premiering Wednesday

Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are getting ready to show America their bipartisan fire-starting skills on "Rival Survival," a reality show starring tho lawmakers that premiers Wednesday night on the Discovery Channel.

Lovitz has a field day with Hillary

Before Hillary Clinton's jobs comment is swept aside as a minor whoopsie, a few words from Jon Lovitz.

John Oliver has some ideas for the FDA

Some people want more nutrition information on food labels--but who really understands those labels anyway?

White House

Russian hackers broke into the White House network

Hackers with suspected ties to the Russian government recently broke into the White House’s unclassified computer network, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Congress

Justin Amash envisions a libertarian Congress

Rep. Justin Amash, the libertarian congressman from Michigan, knows that Congress is far from libertarian. But someday, he thinks that might change.

Rand Paul: The GOP's image ‘sucks’

Rand Paul didn’t mince words about the GOP.

Small college's students thrown into 2014 election

Young people tend not to engage much in the humdrum local politics that go into midterm elections. But what if it’s happening literally in their own backyard?

GOP senator: 'Sorry the government's so f***ed'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made some self-deprecating jokes and colorful remarks about the state of the government during a recent private gathering, per a recording provided to CNN by South Carolina Democrats.

Top lawmaker's Ebola claim

A leading House Republican says he is aware of information that points to the United States eventually receiving non-U.S. Ebola patients for treatment.