This is going to be fun to write about. On the one hand, it involves an almost flawless confluence of media trends that I’ve brought up and predictions that I’ve made throughout the years; on the other hand it also involves a series of media properties and personalities so offensive that I couldn’t make myself give a crap about any of them if you promised that there was a lap-dance from Mila Kunis in it for me.
By now you’ve probably heard that Elisabeth Hasselbeck is leaving The View to head on over to Fox News where she’ll be the next XX-chromo unit in the unenviable position of fielding stupid sexist comments from Brian Kilmeade and just plain old regular stupid comments from Steve Doocy on Fox & Friends. (Gretchen Carlson is leaving for greener daytime pastures at Fox News, likely taking an hour vacated by Megyn Kelly.) This is one of those moves that should surprise absolutely no one anywhere. Hasselbeck has been a perennial bitter ingredient in the bitches brew of coastal and beltway elitism on The View for precisely the reasons she’ll go over like gangbusters at a place like Fox News: She’s blonde, easy on the eyes, conservative Christian, not smart but quick with the kind of snappy comeback that can be mistaken for it, largely uninformed but always ready to unleash a volley of fierce moral certitude and indignation when called for — in other words, the perfect female Fox News host.
If you believed all that covering Barbara Walters did four months ago when word first began circulating that Hasselbeck would soon be fired from The View, you really don’t pay much attention to the way media work these days. Rumors aren’t always true, but they’re damn sure almost always true. Once it leaked that the borrowed time Hasselbeck had been living on for years was finally just about up, the countdown officially started to yesterday’s announcement. That she’s departing for Fox News is nothing more than an entertaining little dénouement. But while it might be good at face value that those media figures who either outright suffer from or who have willingly allowed themselves to be infected with conservative careerist leprosy are, more and more, concentrated on one island far removed from the rest of us, it’s actually bad for media and for our overall cultural discourse.
Back in September of 2009, I wrote a piece for my site and the Huffington Post that dealt with hyper-libertarian asshole John Stossel’s decision to jump ship from ABC and head to Fox News. At the time, this was my take on Stossel’s “homecoming”:
“It underscore(s) in no uncertain terms just where the business of journalism is heading: Hume, Beck, now Stossel — they all skew hard to the right and they’ve all wound up at Fox… The problem is that what we’re witnessing is the homogenization of the news media. It was admittedly inevitable. With so many choices out there, narrowcasting was always the future. But the fewer dissenting opinions at each outlet — with Fox essentially saying, ‘If you’re a conservative, this is where you belong’ — the more viewers, readers, and people simply looking for a well-balanced vision of the world will suffer.”
And keep in mind, this was even before the giant orange head of Lou Dobbs made the move to Fox Business, where it’s remained ever since. If you’re a conservative presence in media, you’re at Fox. It’s just that simple. It’s the gated community where the frightened white people have segregated and sealed themselves off from the encroaching liberal-negro threat.
Adding to the feeling that everyone’s going right where they belong, that the media kindred spirits are finding each other, and that we’ll soon never hear any bit of information we’re not completely expecting and are predisposed to agree with, comes word of who The Viewwas looking at to replace Joy Behar but who could equally grab Hasselbeck’s seat: Jenny McCarthy. Gossip about this move started even before the Hasselbeck announcement was made, so whether it heralded the inevitability of it is anyone’s guess. To say that McCarthy is, once again, a perfect fit for The View is an understatement. McCarthy’s loud, brash, thoroughly confident in her inherent wisdom as one of the celebrity elite to the point of putting lives in danger through her infamous, ignominious anti-vaccination crusade and laughable claims that she “cured” her child’s autism. She’s Dr. Playboy Bunny — which means that she was tailor made for the relentlessly obnoxious kaffeeklatsch that is daytime network TV in general and The View in specific.
So, in the immortal words of Radiohead, everything is in its right place. Hasselbeck has taken her “talents” to the conservative media castle keep, where they’re already hailing her as an underappreciated genius and a victim of the liberal media’s hatred of conservatives, and McCarthy is very well about to join the clucking hens in their daily roost. Rich Lowry and Fox News’s audience of middle-aged, middle-American white guys get something new to spank to and Barbara Walters gets something new to sycophantically fawn over. Now more than ever you know which show or network to avoid if you don’t want your firmly held biases challenged in any way. Or in this case, which show and network to avoid if you don’t want a headache. Everybody wins. Nobody wins. Whatever.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.