Why We Need Elisabeth Hasselbeck

At the root of all good television is conflict. From the ugly manipulation of the reality genre to the wacky foibles of big network scripted comedy, conflict is at the root of what makes all scenarios interesting. And honestly, it doesn’t stop at these fantastical propositions. Think of cable news for example. On the one hand we have Fox news and on the other MSNBC. While both are two heads of the same extremist monster, in so many different ways one wouldn’t exist without the other. Think of a televised world where nothing happened out of the ordinary and things weren’t resolved but continued in a constant loop. Pretty boring, right?

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the media isn’t an absolute force that combines opinion and fact in a jumble that helps us to truly reveal the state of the nation in a way that caters to every opinion. The View is an important television program because it gives a fair (for lack of a better term) view on what the country as a whole believes, but it either doesn’t know how to articulate or doesn’t have the means of publishing said beliefs. It is also important to encourage women to make up their own mind by presenting arguments from all sides. Even if the percentage of progressive and conservative voices is a bit skewed, that ratio is something that is internally controlled by Disney and by the show’s creator, Barbara Walters. She knows what she’s doing because she’s that good and I do believe that she knows how invaluable Hasselbeck’s presence is to the show. In some circles Hasselbeck may be considered a villain, but in others she is a pioneer. Even if her views do not align with mine, I appreciate that she, as a woman, is out there speaking her mind about issues that face America and that she is significant enough to garner any reaction, positive or negative. This is something that contributes to the need for greater gender parity in media today.

The philosophical argument in defense of Hasselbeck falls down to the principle that one does not know one’s own argument until they know the counterargument. We need opposition to fuel our anger to try to make things right in the same way we need agreement that validates our opinion and encourages continuing to fight the good fight, whatever that means for some. We need voices like Hasselbeck’s just like we need voices like Whoopi Goldberg’s. We need to hold on to someone’s opinion to either deride it or agree with it. Yes, one can make up their own judgment without the aid of secondary opinions, but the fact that those opinions are televised validates that they do exist. The mere fact that these can be seen or heard or read is something that garners great power as the media is a reflection, good or bad, of its audience, intended or not.

The View wouldn’t be the same without a conservative voice like Hasselbeck’s because the reason the show is great wouldn’t be there anymore. Without her, the Hot Topics portion of the program would just be a good twenty minutes of propagandistic rubbish that would ultimately be removed until the show was nothing more than celebrity guests and cooking tips. The View leads by example in the fact that it shows women debating fervently about issues that face this country. It should be noted that The View is a pioneering voice in American television because it was one of the first times women were seen to have serious political and cultural discussion in a syndicated format that wasn’t reliant on the guests that were involved in the topic. Oprah Winfrey and Sally Jesse Raphael are great examples of women who pushed the boundaries of television to showcase issues that were hard pressing and controversial but they were very rarely as incredibly timely as The View. That is the most important part of it.

Conflict resolution is something that exists in real life and art is nothing but a reflection of life. A television show like The View is nothing without the conflict between hosts. Sure, people tend to complain about the hen house quality of bickering that ensues every weekday morning but without that you just have a bunch of women who agree with each other and Barbara Walters can only play devil’s advocate for so long. If the rumors are true and Hasselbeck will jet, there must be another conservative voice on the daily panel.

After all, Sherri Shepard can’t bogart all the stupid now can she?