After a decade of voicing the conservative viewpoint on ABC’s The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck has finally earned her rightful place as a Fox News commentator. When Hasselbeck joins the early morning talk show Fox & Friends in September, she’ll finally be free to speak without having to answer to Whoopi’s withering gaze and Joy’s pointedly progressive retorts. How right-wing will Hasselbeck get?
Hasselbeck’s worldview is already very Fox-y: She questions the patriotism of Americans who don’t sing the national anthem at sporting events, thinks feminists burn their bras, and equates the morning-after pill with “birthing a baby and leaving it out on the street.” She continued to defend the Iraq War into 2007. She believes that lesbians who come out of the closet later in life do so because they can’t get a man: “All the older men are going for younger women, leaving the women with no one,” she said. After ESPN’s Erin Andrews was targeted by a stalker, Hasselbeck said the reporter was asking for the attention because she wears “next to nothing” in public appearances.
But on The View, no Hasselbeck point goes unchallenged. The progressive ladies on the show force her to defend her conservative opinions and, in some cases, reverse them. When Hasselbeck ripped into Andrews, Behar pointed out that Hasselbeck herself was wearing a body-clinging tube top at the time. She later administered a tearful on-air apology for her comments. And even when Hasselbeck doesn’t back down, it can be fascinating to watch her explain her thought processes—often, emotionally—to people who don’t agree. At Fox, where she’s replacing Gretchen Carlson, who is getting her own show, she’ll be free to explore her Republicanism in a supportive environment. Maybe that will inspire her to say ever-more wingnutty things, but it probably won’t be as fun to watch.