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

Leave a Reply

Walker plays April Fools' prank
Now that the 2016 presidential candidate announcement season is in full swing, likely candidate Scott Walker was able to play an April Fools’ Day prank of presidential proportions Wednesday morning. The Wisconsin Governor tweeted out that he had a “big announcement” coming up, reminiscent of  Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement. Big announcement coming up at 10:00AM […]
Helen Mirren is absolutely 'anti-gun'
Well, you can add actress Helen Mirren’s name to the list of celebrities who love to shoot ‘em up on screen and rant about gun control off screen. Mirren gave a wide-ranging interview to Yahoo! Movies Monday where she spoke about everything from her love of Vin Diesel to her laundry style to her opinion […]
Tom Cotton objects to his SNL parody

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had a problem with SNL’s spoof of him—but only because the actor selected to portray him was too short.

Maher tells PC liberals 'shut the f up'

Bill Maher's politics are not always the greatest. But when it comes to knocking down the liberal PC brigade, he is on point like no other.

SNL parodies Starbucks' race campaign

What if another company--say, Pep Boys (or Girls! Or Whatever!)--took on their own campaign to talk about gender and sexual identity?

White House

Carly Fiorina says there’s a ‘higher than 90 percent chance’ she’s running for president

Carly Fiorina’s 2016 campaign is all but certain now—and she’s making no secret as to whom she’ll be targeting.

White House promises not to use legal loophole to keep NSA spying alive if Patriot Act expires
If the Patriot Act expires, it will stop the National Security Agency’s bulk spying too. The Obama administration promised this week that it will not take advantage of a legal loophole to keep the NSA spying alive unless Congress re-authorizes the Patriot Act, Reuters reported. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the NSA to collect data on […]
In honor of National Puppy Day, here are the top 10 cutest presidential puppies

Today is National Puppy Day! To celebrate, we give you the top ten cutest puppies to grace the White House Lawn.

Obama: ‘By hook or by crook’ I’ll push my agenda through
This is probably not the smartest phrasing to use. President Obama had an interview with Huffington Post over the weekend and while much of the interview was his oft-repeated lines about how Republicans are the reason nothing is getting done in Washington, he added a new phrase about his legacy that is bound to raise […]
Obama tells Prince Charles that Americans like the royal family better than their own politicians

President Obama has admitted what we all already knew: Americans far prefer the Duchess of Cambridge to Michelle.

Congress

Rand Paul receives 'Constitutional Champion' award

The Constitution Project, a bipartisan watchdog group, named Rand Paul one of its annual “Constitutional Champions” last week.

Sen. Menendez indicted on corruption charges
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Bob Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants who rose to become one of the highest-ranking Hispanic members of Congress, was indicted on corruption charges Wednesday. The New Jersey Democrat, an influential voice on foreign policy, was accused of using his office to improperly benefit a Florida eye doctor and political donor […]
House Democrat comes after sugary drinks again
The idea of a nationwide soda tax is one that just won’t die for a lot of pro-nanny state Democrats. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has introduced her legislation to tax sugary beverages yet again. Her bill would impose a tax of one cent per teaspoon of sweeteners like sugars and high fructose corn syrup, The Hill reported.  DeLauro […]
Harry Reid doesn't care that he lied about Romney
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) might have some regrets about his more than 30 years in Congress, but his baldfaced lies on the Senate floor about former presidential candidate Mitt Romney are not among them. Back in 2012, Reid accused Romney of not paying any taxes at all for the past 10 years without […]
Sen. Harry Reid will not seek re-election
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, the wily Nevadan who dominated the Senate for a decade from the minority to the majority and back again, announced Friday he will retire after five terms. Reid, 75, who shepherded key Obama administration initiatives including the president’s health care law, lost his role as majority leader — […]