Elisabeth Hasselbeck in the morning? Why not just try waterboarding

Elisabeth Hasselbeck for CNN’s morning show?  The new CNN is scaring me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a CNN fan.  Always have been.  But I’ve never felt that the network has lived up to its potential – remember the old days when CNN’s anchors couldn’t pronounce a proper noun correctly for the life of them? Still, I’ve always liked CNN, and felt that they could easily be the best news network, if they just could find their groove.  It’s just not entirely clear what kind of change CNN needs.

But one thing is certain – the change they’re talking about of late, for the most part, ain’t it.

Trading Soledad O’Brien for Elisabeth Hasselbeck, really?

Soledad O'Brien, not with Sean Hannity.

Soledad O’Brien,
not with Sean Hannity.

I’d written the other day about Soledad O’Brien basically being given the boot from CNN’s morning show, and more generally, from any other show on the network.  She hasn’t been fired per se (though it’s not clear whether her contracts lets them get rid of her without a penalty), but she’s clearly been demoted.  And it’s not entirely clear why.  Soledad O’Brien has a rare feistiness as a journalist, and she’s great on TV. She has that unique combination of intelligence, wit, personality and earnestness that makes her a star, and a star journalist. So why isn’t she moving up rather than out?

Pair Soledad’s downward trajectory with the recent news that CNN is in serious talks with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, formerly of The View.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck is mean, whiney and insecure. Just what America needs in the morning.

I’m a fan of The View.  Watched it for years.  And know Hasselbeck’s TV abilities (or lack thereof) far too well.  And it’s not terribly clear what exactly Hasselbeck would bring to CNN.  In the morning, she’d be abominable.  If the network brass, in the form of Jeff Zucker, thought Soledad didn’t connect well enough with viewers, Hasselbeck makes O’Brien look like Bambi.  And in the afternoon or evening, Hasselbeck simply doesn’t have the physical, emotional, mental, or intellectual gravitas to pull it off.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck and daughter Grace Elisabeth on stage at the Sean Hannity Freedom Rally on 9 11 2007 at Great Adventure in New Jersey. Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

Elisabeth Hasselbeck and daughter Grace Elisabeth on stage at the Sean Hannity Freedom Rally on 9 11 2007 at Great Adventure in New Jersey. Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s entire TV repertoire can be summarized thusly: Mean, whiney, insecure, Republican.

She’s not particularly good on TV, speaks far too quickly and always sounds nervous, like she’s had too many Cokes (and I say this as a fellow motormouth), and she’s mean and preachy in a terribly partisan Republican way.  And her voice is grating.  Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…

Elisabeth Hasselbeck is no Jake Tapper

To its credit, CNN snagged ABC’s Jake Tapper for its afternoons.  I’ll give the new chief credit for that one. I’ve always liked Jake, met him years ago, and he’s always been a good, fair player on the issues I care about, and a quality journalist.  Jake is one of those people whose opinion matters to me – I care about what he thinks is really happening here in DC.  (Same goes for Soledad.)  And those are the kind of people I want to see on television, people who help me learn things I didn’t know before.

Hasselbeck won’t be teaching me anything other than how to turn the channel to MSNBC.

So just to summarize.  Here’s Soledad O’Brien:

And here’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck:

Any questions?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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