Meghan McCain will likely be the last woman with truly conservative positions to fill a permanent seat on ABC’s “The View.” Six months after her departure from the show for which she served four seasons, the program is facing a reckoning over its hostile work environment, toxic culture, and intellectual bankrupcy.
On Saturday, The New York Post cited a former network executive reporting the show’s absence of a non-leftist panelist was “driving Whoopi crazy.”
“Having people come in and out with no one permanent interrupts the flow,” this person reportedly told the Post.
Goldberg now might be regretting her routine admonishment of McCain on air for the crime of bringing her views shared by millions of conservative women underrepresented in corporate media to the legacy program.
“Girl, please stop talking. Please stop talking right now,” Goldberg demanded of McCain in a viral 2019 segment wherein the longtime co-host cut to commercial instead of allowing her colleague to speak. Goldberg apologized for the interruption the next day, but it was far from an isolated episode that finally sent McCain off stage, once in the middle of a taping, then for good.
It was the same form of on-air treatment afforded to former non-leftist cohost Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who took the heat for 10 years. In one episode, Hasselbeck also left the set before she returned when Barbara Walters did to Hasselbeck was Goldberg often did to McCain.
In January last year, cohost Joy Behar was more explicit about her contempt for McCain.
“I did not miss you,” Behar said in another viral clip, visibly frustrated at the return of a colleague back from maternity leave willing to argue with the left-wing host. Behar apparently enjoyed the quiet weeks of completely unchallenged commentary. Unlike Goldberg, McCain told Variety the network refused to apologize backstage.
“I asked for an apology from our executive producer and her producer,” McCain told the magazine. “They said she wouldn’t do it. I don’t know if they asked her… [Behar] might have hated me.”
By August, the evident hatred led McCain to leave behind what she described as no welcome home for right-of-center views on the monolithically ideological program.
“Being a conservative woman in mainstream media is deeply threatening. Being a woman who can hold her own on a show like that proved to be ultimately threatening, so it became more and more personal,” McCain told Fox News in October. “The more successful I was on ‘The View,’ and the more moments I helped get them and the more I pressed liberal candidates and liberal guests on the show, the worse it got for me backstage and then ultimately it started spilling out on air.”
The program’s exorcism of McCain not only marks the continued radicalization of a left-wing media establishment that wants nothing to do with dissident voices, but it exposes “The View” as a daytime program that values ideological diversity in name only. The show’s turbulent search for a replacement has served as a further indictment of its credibility. Fox News’ Kat Timpf declined the opportunity to even audition over the show’s treatment of McCain.
With a 4:1 panel skewing left, whoever fills the show’s only non-leftist chair is already at a disadvantage by being placed in the position of reinforcing the program’s false presentation of the country as four-fifths leftist and one-fifth conservative. The seat’s new owner not only has to represent the right, but she must offer a voice to centrists also excluded from a slanted lineup, an almost impossible task.
In other words, the show reflects ABC’s frame of the universe where George Stephanopoulos is at the center. He also happens to be the network’s political director. The panel presents a showdown between the older wokes, such as Behar who once wore blackface, and the younger wokes. If the program were prepared for a true conservative co-host, it would be offering two more seats, not one.
In December, Politico Playbook outlined the criteria a replacement must meet to satisfy both the panelists and producers.
Sources close to the show said that the search has stalled as executives struggle to find a conservative cast-member who checks all the right boxes. They will not consider a Republican who is a denier of the 2020 election results, embraced the January 6 riots, or is seen as flirting too heavily with fringe conspiracy theories or the MAGA wing of the GOP. But at the same time, the host must have credibility with mainstream Republicans, many of whom still support Donald Trump.
Such parameters indicate broad definitions of what it means to be “a denier of the 2020 election results” or a champion of the Jan. 6 riots have complicated the show’s search for a replacement who could still offer a good rapport with the incumbent panelists. Someone with a harmonious relationship with the current co-hosts also means someone who won’t offer a serious challenge to their views on air.
“Current executive producer Brian Teta, previously a longtime producer for ‘The Late Show with David Letterman,’ is too much a people-pleaser, the former ABC executive said,” according to the New York Post. “The panel runs right over him. He won’t want to choose someone that will make the others mad. So I really wonder who’s making the casting decisions over there right now.”
If the show were looking for a true conservative to give the panelists a challenging debate, best-selling author and previous guest Ann Coulter would be a ripe choice. The hosts, however, would never allow that to happen. Instead, the show has primarily given auditions to those who best fit ABC’s mold of controlled conservatism as represented by a series of anti-Trump crusaders.
That means the program still isn’t ready to inaugurate the ideological diversity Walters pledged to offer when it launched in 1997.