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

The Daily Show on 'mixed marriages'

The Daily Show has braved one of the great dilemmas of our politicized generation: dating outside your political party.

The Daily Show defends 'manspreading'

“Manspreading”: The defining male rights movement of our generation!

Nancy Grace battles Dr. Drew on pot

Oh, Nancy. Just weeks after gracing the internet with her marijuana debate with 2 Chainz, she's served up another delightful bit of TV: her appalled reaction to discovering that fellow HLN star Dr. Drew is on the 2 Chainz side of this argument.

Stewart: 'Drones love Obama'
Jon Stewart couldn’t stop laughing about the drone found at the White House early Monday morning. A small drone crashed on the White House lawn around 3 a.m. and after several hours in lockdown, Secret Service determined that it did not pose a threat. “Of course it didn’t pose a threat. Drones love Obama. He’s like a one […]
Jonathan Gruber raps to MIT students

If you’ve been dying to see Jonathan Gruber, who credited the “stupidity of the American voter” with passing Obamacare, strip down to his undershirt and rap about economics, today is your lucky day!

White House

Biden: ‘The past six years have been really, really hard for this country,’ ‘tough for our party’

Vice President Joe Biden has a lot of singular qualities—he kills it with the ladies, for example, and is always down for a good ball joke.

HuffPo blogger Obama tells Dems to ‘Get informed, not by reading the Huffington Post’
President Obama offered some pretty ironic advice at the House Democrats annual retreat Thursday. According to The Hill, Obama told his fellow Democrats to hold their fire while the administration works on trade deals that several liberal lawmakers have expressed opposition to. “Keep your powder dry,” he said. How did he suggest doing that? “Get […]
White House: Scrapped 529 plan will still be in budget because it has already been sent to the printers
That awkward moment when even the President of the United States can’t get a print shop to make a small change for him… Just one day after the White House announced that it had caved to political pressure and would not be taxing the 529 college savings plan,  officials also had to admit that this […]
VP Biden appears on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ to get ask young people to sign up for Obamacare
With three weeks to go until the Obamacare deadline to purchase insurance, the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to encourage young people to sign up.  The renewed push included a stop by Vice President Joe Biden on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday so he could appeal to moms who are good at […]
Small drone crashes at White House complex, origin unclear
WASHINGTON (AP) — A small drone flying at low altitude crashed into the White House complex before dawn Monday, the Secret Service said. President Barack Obama was not at home and the White House said it did not pose a security threat. The crash prompted an immediate lockdown of the White House grounds until officials […]

Congress

Dems escort reporters to bathroom at retreat
Why do Democrats always want to escort reporters to the restroom? Or at least it sure seems that way. The latest incident comes from the House Democrats annual retreat where Politico reports that reporters were required to have a staff members escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby during Vice President Joe Biden’s […]
Rubio wants permanent NSA spying law

For Senator Marco Rubio (R- Fla.) reauthorizing government spying isn't quite enough--he wants to permanently enshrine it in law.

Cornyn to Lynch:'You're not Eric Holder, are you?'
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) bluntly asked the only question that seemed to be on every Republican’s mind Wednesday at Loretta Lynch’s confirmation hearing to be the next attorney general. “You’re not Eric Holder, are you?” Cornyn asked. “No, I’m not,” Lynch replied. “I will be myself. I will be Loretta Lynch [if confirmed.]“   Cornyn said […]
Cruz bill would punish IRS targeting with jailtime

Ted Cruz wants IRS employees guilty of targeting to be the ones forking over their money, this time -- and that's at the very least.