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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44 Responses to “Elisabeth Hasselbeck in the morning? Why not just try waterboarding”

  1. slappymagoo says:

    They certainly do more than their share of butt kissing, but they’ve blasted Obama for not closing Gitmo, for negotiating chained CPI, for not going after bankers more aggressively because he’s chummy with some of the worst of the lot. And some hosts like the prime and former prime hosts did a better job pointing out those inconsistencies than others. Anyone who claims otherwise is either lying or believing the lies being told by others.

  2. slappymagoo says:

    Actually, not always, or at least, not every option you’d think you should have. I’ve had HDTVs where the only zoom options were a regular stretch or a curved stretch but not a keep-everything-in-the-same-aspect zoom. Surprised me too when I first learned of it.

  3. grannyk8 says:

    CNN lost me as a steady viewer months ago. They have chosen to become a pop-news station and they have no one to blame but themselves for their loss of credibility. Twenty-four hours of regurgitating the same news reels over and over, and Anderson Coopers increasingly banal silliness have done the dirty deed.

  4. ronbo says:

    During the day…conservative. During the night…moderate. Never….liberal.

  5. noreaster says:

    Then maybe you should duck….

  6. zorbear says:

    My Mommy sez, “Would you shut up? I’m trying to have a conversation with you!”

  7. cole3244 says:

    i don’t watch cnn so having soledad move and putting the ingrate there is a win win for me.

  8. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Your post gave me a big smile. When my late husband and I got into “heated discussions”, he would often say, “Don’t confuse me with facts and logic.”

  9. zorbear says:

    Would you please stop badgering the rubes by slinging facts at them? Those things sting when they hit…


  10. BeccaM says:

    No I didn’t. I merely said we watch and never miss those shows. You presumed that I was saying that’s the only place I get my news.

    For the record, I just finished watching Rachel Maddow’s ‘Hubris’ for a second time. I read at least a dozen different blogs throughout the day and several mainstream news outlets, including the BBC, NBCnews.com, and others.

    If you read even a fraction of my ridiculous number of comments here on Americablog, you’d easily surmise there’s no way I absorb that much information from a single hour of comedy news programs.

  11. Carl Gorney says:

    ANYONE’s contract can be bought out and terminated at any time.

    Just because someone SAYS another person is staying long term doesn’t mean squat. It happens in sports all the time.

  12. Ron Thompson says:

    I would also like to see the Catholic Church become a compassionate advocate for the poor, and the Republican Party become a responsible partner in government. Of the three, I’m not sure which is the most likely. My two have some freedom of action, while yours seems to be chained to its perception of its market niche.

    CNN is a disgrace I gave up on long ago. 310 Million Americans, and their Big Talent is Wolf Blitzer, who demonstrated what a moron he is on celebrity Jeopardy, in case it wasn’t already obvious.

  13. sophie says:

    “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.”

    Anyone who has been paying attention already knows that CNN has been FUX-lite for quite awhile. It is no surprise that one of the few real journalist’s such as Soledad is being “replaced,” by a Repug talking head/whore. Soledad actually managed to challenge her right-wing guests, and usually eviscerated their talking points. The View’s producers could not stomach Elisabeth any longer and she was unpopular with viewers. So where else should she go? CNN, of course. She is perfect for Zucker’s FUX lite circus.

    Any “news” network that employs people like the misogynist Eric the Red, and Dana Loesch, has already lost all credibility. The recent disgusting rape apologist “news” coverage of the Steubenville trial with Crowley and her cohorts is yet another example of how far CNN has fallen.

  14. noreaster says:

    Well, you did say The Daily Show and Colbert Report in your above comment to the post regarding news choices. It leads one to believe those are your news shows of choice…

  15. BeccaM says:

    You have no clue where I get my news and information.

  16. emjayay says:

    Lots of stuff for free via rabbit ears on PBS. And The Middle and Modern Family on I think ABC.

  17. emjayay says:

    You can pick from a menu of aspect ratios on any flat screen HDTV, which is what almost every place has at this point. Whever plugged it in in the first place just didn’t know the difference. Almost always set to a ratio that stretches everything horizontally.

  18. noreaster says:

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what is wrong with society. We get our news from entertainment shows and think that’s smart. Sad, sad, sad…..

  19. noreaster says:

    MSNBC, yeah that’s “real” news. They spend so much time kissing the butt of our current president and his lackeys, no matter how awful their policy decisions, quotes or behavior are, they never call them out. It’s impossible to take them seriously or respect their so called journalistic integrity. Lowest new ratings on TV…

  20. zorbear says:

    We turn on the cartoon channel for the bird (bright colors) when we go out…

  21. karmanot says:

    and balloon boobs of course

  22. Naja pallida says:

    “Mean, whiney, insecure, Republican.”

    Seems to me that you used three too many words in that sentence.

  23. BeccaM says:

    True, but I’ve noticed that recently more places are opting for less…controversial choices. Bars tuned exclusively to sports channels, for example. Heck, the last time I had to take the car in for scheduled servicing at the dealer, they had the Food Channel on.

    Anyway, one thing I’m not afraid to do is to ask a manager or desk clerk or someone in a position of responsibility if they’d mind changing the channel. Usually I’ll ask if they have the Science channel. Much of the time they simply have Fox on because they think people want to watch it. I make it clear there’s one customer who doesn’t, and I have yet to have anybody object.

  24. BeccaM says:

    The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. We never miss ’em.

  25. Asterix says:

    Does anyone still watch teevee anymore? I turn on the TV when I’m leaving the house to keep the dogs amused, but other than that, I can’t say that I’ve paid much attention to the one-eyed monster much this year–particularly not for news. I do have the (commercial free) BBC radio on much of the day, but it’s turned way down, so I can ignore it, but there’s simply not much on TV to keep my interest.

  26. BeccaM says:

    Years ago, I used to tune into CNN Headline News on a regular basis just to catch up on what was going on in the world. Then they stopped doing “Headline News” in favor of pre-packaged programs. (Come to think of it, the Weather Channel does that now, too… And don’t even get me started on what’s happened to the Discover channel. Ugh. And when did the History channel become a Christian evangelistic station? I digress…)

    As I’ve mentioned before, I finally gave up on CNN itself in the autumn of 2002 when they began running promos on all the retired generals and military experts they’d hired in the run-up to the Iraq war — making it clear they had tremendous bias in favor of the war happening. (I know… none of the other networks were any better, and we all remember what happened to Phil Donahue, but I’d previously had a decent, albeit diminishing opinion of CNN.)

    Anywho… Soledad O’Brien seemed to me to be one of those real-journalist outliers on CNN, much like Shepherd Smith on Fox. A hire made so the network brass can claim to be unbiased across the spectrum of their regular anchors and on-air ‘talent.’ Thing is, these outliers never last very long and are usually shuffled out on a regular basis, while the more egregiously obnoxious tools stay there for years, if not decades. Wolf Blitzer, anyone?

    The buck for all this stuff going on now ends on Jeff Zucker’s desk.

    Zucker is telling reporters and producers to broaden their definition of news and include a greater selection of topics.

    On Thursday, as other networks covered sober political news, CNN aired Beyoncé’s Super Bowl press conference where she broke into the national anthem to prove she could sing as well as lip-sync.

    “A broader definition of news.” Yeah, right.


  27. I’m already applying pressure in the best way I have – my public word.

  28. emjayay says:

    You forgot shallow and uninformed and willfully ignorant and completely intellectually incurious. OK, that’s four ways of saying the same thing. She never says anything she didn’t memorize from Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. Or a Christianist hate group spokesperson. Soledad O’Brien is of course the opposite.
    She should fit in fine with the other similar Fox News bimbos. I suggest even more makeup, more artificially colored and unnaturally big and glossy hair, and be sure to always wear a low cut cocktail dress in a bright color.

  29. slappymagoo says:

    That’s because a lot of places don’t want to spring the extra money for HD programming, so they can either blow the image up and cut off people’s heads or stretch the image out and everyone winds up looking encephalitic.

  30. emjayay says:

    Or you can do what I do, watch/listen to day-old msnbc on the computer.

    What’s worse than Fox News? Quest blood test places which play TMZ really loud on a cheap TV with disabled controls. They refuse to turn it off. Don’t go there.There are alternatives.

    If my doctor’s office had Fox News on I would compain, discuss it with the doctor as well, and tell them I was going elsewhere. I get it being on at at truck stops obviously. If they think news is a good idea, why don’t they have CNN on? The foot and orthopedic and back etc. office I go to recently removed the TV! It always had the colors insanely misadjusted anyway. About half of office and Hampton Inn breakfast room etc. TV’s have the aspect ratio set wrong also.

  31. Drew2u says:

    Then use the National Journalism Center to pressure CNN to do actual journalism instead of stenography and equal-exchange of unequal opinions.

  32. Blogvader says:

    That woman is revolting.

  33. willardcottrell says:

    Constantly No News

    Lost interest a long time ago. Talking heads w/o substance. Sorry John CNN is becoming Faux News lite.

  34. Yes, but as I noted above, I actually like CNN and care about CNN, and would like to see it improve and succeed.

  35. slappymagoo says:

    That’s where I’m at with MSNBC. In order to save a hundred bucks a month on cable, I’ve lost tons of channels I never watched…and the one I did, regularly. Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, HLN, I get those, but no MSNBC.

    But I subscribe to SiriusXM, which simulcast’s MSNBC’s audio feed, and usually in the morning I download the audio podcast of Maddow’s show and listen to it on the way in to work, or podcasts from Current to watch once I’m on the train.

    But I can walk into any diner or garage or doctor’s office or any other kind of waiting room, and inevitably, if the news is on, it’s what passes for News on Fox News.

  36. Drew2u says:

    TONS of diners, fast food places, and truck stops that I’ve driven through – from South Dakota to Pennsylvania – play FOX. I’ve seen cable/satellite packages that have FOX as a freebie cheap channel while MSNBC ,etc. are in premium packages.

  37. Drew2u says:

    On “Fresh Air”, Justin Gillis of the NYT warned about false dichotomies and giving equal weight to unequal measurements, as he penned his series on climate change. CNN falls directly into that trap.
    I also feel that journalism as a whole, has gone downhill into roundtable cacophonies of opinions rather than reporting factual truths – which require time, money, and expending effort & knowledge.

    News as a business gets in the way of news as reporting factual events.

  38. silas1898 says:

    She was a whiny, vile, mean, petty witch back when she played on Survivor. She hasn’t changed a bit.

  39. slappymagoo says:

    Ever notice how Dems or libs will watch Fox News just to know what people who aren’t thinking are thinking?

    Ever notice how Repubs or cons rarely tune in to MSNBC?

    Ever notice how many businesses keep Fox News on all day because they’re conservative customers whine like babies if any other news network is on, but libs/mods/indies don’t pitch a fuss?

    This is all why Soledad O’Brien is out and Hassebeck might be in. Who cares if she’s not good? People who like her don’t care and people who don’t like her will turn in so they can talk about why they don’t like her and after all ANY publicity is GOOD publicity.

  40. bkmn says:

    As a consumer you have the power to use the off button on your television.

    Saves you money on your electric bill too!

  41. ronbo says:

    CNN is still on the air? Didn’t they rename it CableToday with Kathy Lee (and her box of wine) where they melt daily into an on-air drunken stupor? Reality TV almost as good as JerseySnore with only half the intellect!

  42. UncleBucky says:

    Can’t Hasselbeck go somewhere where the sun don’t shine? Oh, my. I thought the word… :-|

  43. Barbara Wawa said that Elizabeth isn’t going ANYWHERE – that she has a long term contract. Just sayin…..

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