Earlier this week, Barack and Michelle Obama appeared on The View to talk about the day’s Hot Topics, or whatever. (Michelle can’t believe that the woman in Idaho who got gum in her hair went to the emergency room and agrees with Joy that the emergency room shouldn’t be used for hair related problems even if it is a lot of gum!) Some people have complained that the President of the United States shouldn’t even be appearing on The View in the first place, which seems like a decent argument/complaint but that ship sailed a long time ago. At this point we should just all be glad that the candidates in a general election year aren’t appearing on a special episode of Wipe Out! where the mud is red white and blue paint and the boxing gloves have important issue keywords on them. “Oh, and there goes Mitt Romney, taken down with one punch by Social Security.” PLOP! But, so, I stumbled across a clip from the episode in which Elisabeth Hasselbeck “grills” Obama on some of the important questions concerning American voters in this troubled economy (you can watch the clip here) and it suddenly made me so angry. It’s pretty natural to get angry when Elisabeth Hasselbeck opens her mouth because so much of what comes out is self-righteous, unearned, total nonsense. And such is the case here except that she is doing it in front of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Like, really holding his feet to the fire as if she has a mandate from the American people* to ask the tough questions, even if she herself doesn’t understand the wording of the questions. (I also like in that clip how she feels the need to point out that she likes Barack and Michelle Obama personally, just not politically, again as if that is her duty as a Judge of the Court of Thinking and Political Philosopher to separate the two. We are rational creatures are we not?!) I mentioned to Kelly how angry I was that a fucking reality show contestant had been secretly and mysteriously elevated to the point of Valued Opinion Haver in our society such that she was then granted access to the President of the United States, and Kelly asked if I was talking about the Conan segment where he yells about that, and I hadn’t even seen the Conan segment yet! So then I watched the Conan segment:

Ha ha. Seriously! (What this proves, of course, is that I should have my own talk show. Right? I am sure that is what this proves. Me and Conan O’Brien had the same independent thought one time ergo give me a TV show. It’s called logical rhetoric, and it’s a tautology.) But, so, Conan makes a good if at this point repetitive point: WHO THE FUCK IS THIS WOMAN TO BE QUESTIONING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES? Let’s make something very clear: I am not arguing that the President is infallible or that no one should ask the President questions. You know I am not arguing that. The President is a Bloopers Machine, and he should be asked difficult, gotcha questions on a daily basis. Just not by former reality show contestants on a bloviating garbage show hosted by a group of self-satisfied hens. Remember when Star Jones said that God had blessed her by not killing her in the Tsunami that took 300,000 other lives? Or how about when Sheri Shepard said she didn’t know whether the world was round and that maybe it was actually flat in her first two weeks on the show. THIS IS A REAL SHOW? AND WE PRETEND THAT THESE PEOPLE HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY THAT IS WORTH LISTENING TO?

Conan took up the cause again last night in another clip clarifying his “position”:

The throw away point that Conan defends against, that somehow he was just saying the things he said in the first clip because he is a liberal**, which–PUH-LEASE–brings up an even more curious question: aren’t conservatives embarrassed to have her on their team? The fact that she really DOES represent some brand of republican brain trust on The View, to spar on equal footing with Whoopi (LOL, come ON, what are we TALKING ABOUT ANYMORE?) should be a red flag to someone who believes in smaller government, personal resonsibility, and legislating against women’s reproductive freedom. It’s a bummer!

Anyway, I know Conan is joking when he urges a constitutional amendment against reality shows being allowed to ask the President questions unless they win their show, but I really do think we should put an end to Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s access. Take away her backstage pass! Put her in the bleachers. Give her a pair of binoculars and a score card. She can watch the game just like everybody else. Have fun! Shut up!

*The problem of course being that she kind of DOES have a mandate from the American people, one that was admittedly purchased whole cloth for her by ABC, but which grants her this audience-approved license. It says a lot more about us than it does about her. That being said, we can take her mandate away at any time, so why don’t we take her mandate away?
**The counter argument would be that it’s no better to have Jon Stewart, say, ask the President questions. Honestly, that’s fine. Let’s not have either of these people ask the President questions. I do think one of them is worse because one of them is a fucking idiot, but no, yes, leave the questions to serious people. That’s fine!
Comments (69)
  1. I can’t watch the clips right now, but I have to say that the faces Mr. and Mrs. President are making in the still from the first video are PERFECT.


  3. At this point, there are so many people out there embarassing the Republican party, Elizabeth Hasselbeck barely even registers anymore.

  4. I’d rather get it with Whoopi.

  5. I think that Wipe Out idea could work.

  6. Oh Elizabeth Hasslebeck, one strong, human argument against the first amendment.
    It almost sounds like she wrote that question herself. Almost.

  7. Can we all just as a society condemn The View to Garbage Town and never speak of it again? This show, much like the part of CNN that has Will.I.Am holograms and views Twitter as an Important Thing To Be Taken Seriously, is kind of dumbing down our society and culture in a way that I find to be very frustrating.

  8. The fact that we’re even discussing her now is frustrating.

  9. I saw the conan clip earlier. I really dont get the outrage here. If it was Bush and a liberal reality show contestant on the view asked him about the economy, would you all be that mad? What is wrong with asking a politician a question about political matters? The political tribalism needs to be toned down a bit I think.

    • I think the fact that she’s an idiot asking a nonsense question that was fed to her by Fox news is the real problem. If she were a smart person with an intelligent question that was based in some sort of fact, I wouldn’t have an issue with her challenging the president and would encourage it. Like say if someone were to ask, why haven’t the banks suffered from the crisis? Why hasn’t anyone gone to jail or paid for almost wrecking the economy?
      But to ask a question about the decline of middle class families that she wants to take rights away from…that’s just fucking crazy talk.

      • Her questions were dumb, yes. And the fact that she is a stooge in the Republican media machine that is trying to divide and conquer your country (there is a Democratic media machine too, it’s just way more entertaining) is a very big problem.
        But the complaint of “Who is she to be allowed to talk to him” is just making things worse. And is feeling kinda sexist, but I may be projecting on that last bit.

        • I LOVE Conan, and I agree with most of Gabe’s post, but my first thought after seeing the first vid was “Well who is he to say ‘who is she to say’?”

      • Another great question to ask would be: How are the combination of the ‘war on drugs’ and the privatization of the prison system not the continuation of slavery in this country, possibly even worse?

        Or more simply: Why do we have *the highest documented incarceration rate in the world* and possibly of ALL TIME in our great ‘free’ country. WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE IN JAIL THAN RUSSIA (#freepussyriot)

    • Alex Vermitsky  |   Posted on Sep 27th, 2012 +16

      You just think she’s pretty

    • And, what makes her less qualified than someone with a degree in broadcasting?

      • You have a point Jonee – she’s not any less qualified then some people in broadcasting. She has the right to ask it, but it would be nicer if she were cognizant of what she’s asking. But many reporters are in the same boat as her. For me it goes back to her question, which makes no sense, really and is more a distraction by the conservative machine that breeds the old mantra “if you hear it you will believe it.” So she’s really not asking a legit question as much as saying “fuck you”.

    • i think i am biased because i have seen the view a few times and elizabeth hasselbeck is just the worst. her voice…

  10. As annoying as I find Elisabeth Hasslebeck, I’m actually okay with her asking those questions. Everyone knows where she stands, and I’m sure no one on the show was surprised that she pulled that question on Obama.
    I think it says more about Obama that he gave her a straight answer…and somehow avoided using the phrase “get the fuck outta here” anywhere in his response. Very presidential. In all seriousness, he wasn’t obligated to answer a stooge like her, I’m sure (I hope?) most of the country recognized that as well.

  11. I am… not on Team Coco with this.

    There are a LOT of things you can say about Hasselbeck, and there are PLENTY of criticisms you can make about her question — like how it was basically just this gross attempt at self-aggrandizement, to look like she’s a serious journalist and stick it in the face of everyone who thinks she’s just an empty-headed token on a garbage talk show, and how the main problem was how embarrassingly AWKWARD it was. Like when you’re at a party and everyone is stupid-drunk and laughing and trading Simpsons quotes at each other and then one guys suddenly says, “Hey, hey guys, seriously, though. Seriously. WHAT ABOUT BOSNIA?”**

    So there is that.

    But this whole schtick about “Who is she to ASK THE PRESIDENT A QUESTION?” Well… um… fuck you, Conan. And fuck you, Gabe. (Respectfully.)

    Who she is, is an American citizen. And if she’s lucky enough to get to sit next to the President for an hour, then I guess she gets to ask him whatever the fuck she wants. If it’s a stupid question (which it is), then yes, let us all laugh at her for that. And if we feel like the criteria that society sets for who does and does not get to be famous enough to sit next to the President for an hour is ridiculous (which it is), then yes, let us all talk about that.

    But “Who is she to ask the President a question?” is, itself, a very stupid question. And you should be embarrassed for asking it.

    P.S. If you gave me a WHOLE WEEK to come up with a question for Barack Obama, and then gave me the opportunity to ask it to his face, I would probably come up with something along the lines of “Do you watch Doctor Who?” And then, if you gave me a SECOND CHANCE to go back and do it better, it would be, “Why not?”

    P.P.S: ** This actually happened to me.

    • Was the answer “Because I am the President and pretty busy?”

      For the record, I agree with you 100% except my question for Obama would be “What is your personal moral justification for drone strikes on your own citizens abroad?”

    • Good thing this Conan Amendment includes the stipulation that reality show winners can ask the President a question, because I’m in talks with Tyra Banks and Helen Thomas to pitch “America’s Next Top White House Correspondent” where we will determine through a series of challenges which fresh, young journalist hopeful over 5’7” (don’t worry, we’ll do a short girls season for you Hobbits out there) deserves the chance to strut her stuff in the White House Press Room and take home a $250,000 contract with the Newsweek tumblr and Ford Models.

      Here’s hoping Ms. Thomas’s recent gaffe’s weren’t just a fluke and she can function nicely as our Janice Dickenson.

    • I would agree with you if she were qualified to ask something genuinely.

    • I am in agreement with Mike Gentry. Plus isnt there something kind of patronizing in this impulse to want to shield poor precious delicate Obama from any questions about political stuff? The guy is a grown ass man, he is a politician and he is the president, getting political questions you dont agree with is part of his job. Just relax and let these people do what they do. Getting all offended by it is lame.

      • And he handled it totally fine. Everyone was ok.

      • It’s not about patronizing. It’s about the “it’s ok to disrespect THIS particular president to his face” meme. Sure, people thought that Bush was a moron, and there were tons of jokes to that effect. But no one was screaming “you lie” during his State of the Union. You didn’t have Govenors shoving fingers in his face on the runway. You didn’t have an interviewer constantly talking over him and cutting him off.

        I mean the closest you could get with Dubya would be Colbert doing the correspondent’s dinner thing, but that is always a pseudo roast, it just happened to have a bit more bite than usual. That’s very different from a situation that is supposed to be serious where people basically just treat the president as if he’s not someone that deserves their respect because they didn’t vote for him. Throw in a nice dollop of people accusing him of not being the legitimate president that are actually in elected positions, or taken seriously by those who are, and it does come off as worse than just normal snarkiness and mockery of public officials, etc.

  12. Facetaco is maybe busy or something, so I am going to take the mantle of disagreeing with you on this one, Gabe.
    This is not Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s fault. She is stupid, yes, but American viewers and American executives put her on television, and have kept her there for some reason. This is way stupider.
    What is ridiculous is that the President is on the show. What is more ridiculous than that is that he has to be on the show because it’s an important campaign stop. American viewers want to see idiots ask the President stupid questions more than they want to see him on Charlie Rose.
    But why shouldn’t this idiot get to ask him questions, since he’s there?

    • If I weren’t in a very good mood today, I would be thoroughly enraged right now at the fact that “he has to be on the show because it’s an important campaign stop” is an accurate statement ok just typing this sentence has made me a bit angry.

    • Yeah, like Gabe says in his tiny footnote, it says more about the American public that this show was considered a worthy venue for the president to make an appearance on.

      It’s pretty shitty on behalf of the show’s producers that they let that lady spring that sort of clearly slanted, “I took some numbers out of context and massaged them until it made it look like i have a point” question like that with no preparation on the president like that.

      BUT, it’s even more shitty on behalf of afternoon TV watchers everywhere that “The View” is somehow a valuable enough forum that the president’s campaign felt it needed to make an appearance on it in order to win votes.

    • There is a point to be made about her being so confrontational with the president. She’s just some lady who sits around jabbering with a bunch of old bats. What does she know? I do think she has as much a right to ask any question she wants as anybody, but she’s just so annoying. She could take a chill pill and just be honored she’s hanging with Barack Fuckin’ Obama on t.v. like every little girl’s dream.

  13. Can we vote her back onto the island?

    • THATS WHAT SHE LOOKED LIKE BACK THEN!? I feel like I liked her on survivor ten years ago. How little I knew about the world as a 14 year old…

      (Wait how old is that season?)

  14. Wasn’t she voted president of the island? A former head of state trading barbs with a current one is nothing new for daytime t.v. Who can forget Nixon and Kruschev’s Guiding Light debate moderated by Susan Flannery?

  15. I’m just embarrassed. Her question boils down to something like, “They tell me there are problems, and I have a feeling they might be your fault.”

  16. I disagree. If you go on a stupid garbage television show, expect to be asked stupid garbage questions.

    Imagine if George W. Bush had gone on the view (maybe this actually happened, I dunno). Let’s also imagine that Rosie O’Donnell is there (she used to be on that show, remember?). And Rosie O’Donnell asked him some garbage about what *really* happened on 9/11. I think we would all cringe, but agree that that is the exact kind of garbage controversy we all expected from our favorite garbage morning show.

  17. I don’t think the President should have been on The View, just in general, because I don’t particularly care about the soft, human side of him. Since he has to be there, honestly, it should all be softball garbage questions about what’s on your iPod because The View is for that soft, human interest angle and to deny that is just nonsense.
    I don’t like The View pretending like it is the venue for hard-hitting political questions because it diminishes the tiniest bit of clout actual journalists and news venues still have in this arena. I do think that’s a big deal. We’ve had to suffer through ratings grabs from the 24 hour news networks all competing with things like The View and The Daily Show and The Internet so they’ve stopped trying to ask smart questions, find the real story, basically any of the things Aaron Sorkin tries to complain newsmen have lost with “The Newsroom.”

    I do think Elisabeth Hasselbeck can ask the president whatever she wants, but letting her use this venue that normally talks about which New Jersey housewife is the bitchiest means we’re lowering asking real questions of the president to that freaking level. We’re already forced news networks to lower themselves enough. Can we at least reserve asking the president hard questions for news networks that are, at least in theory, supposed to be about these topics? I would much prefer to watch anyone on Fox News ask the same, and even tougher, questions to the president than watch the ladies of The View pretend like they thought about this interview for more than 5 minutes. I dunno… It just really rubs me the wrong way for The View OF ALL THINGS to be pretending to be putting the screws to world leaders. Why even let people study to be journalists anymore? Just go on Survivor, dye your hair blonde, and come in 20th and you’re set.

    • everyone should just watch the news hour on pbs. it’s the best. the fact that news and entertainment have melded so stupendously is a huge problem, and it’s really degraded how our society as a whole thinks and functions.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Yes, my complaint is definitely sexist. I hate her because she’s a woman, not because the venue is inappropriate and contributes to, as southernbitch so sussinctly put it, the melding of news as entertainment. I would much rather have Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson talk to the president because I definitely hate women, not that I hate elevating someone who normally covers passive entertainment to an even higher level than someone who is trying to be a professional journalist. You nailed me.

        • *succinctly
          **probably some other errors

        • Also, I would also feel exactly the same if this was about a male host of G4′s Attack of the Show or ESPN’s Sports Center interviewing the president. I fully expect if that happened, those shows would be equally likely to ask him what’s on his iPod (not really a gendered question example, I thought, and one I see asked in fluff human interest interviews with him all the time over the last 4+ years). If they didn’t, it would feel forced and cynical as an attempt to boost notoriety for the show or its hosts as it did with Elisabeth and The View.
          I’m a woman who studied politics and who admires other women who talk about it professionally. However, it’s disappointing watching politics be placed on the same level of newsworthiness as the fall TV line-up, Borderlands 2, or the NFL referee lockout, or as means for a soulless grab at viral video success by acting out of place with the tone of a light entertainment show and calling it journalism. I don’t think that’s anti-woman.

    • ^^^^This NAILS it.

      I’m not *fine* with the View at all, really, but when Hasselbeck – or any of the other hosts – try to pretend they are hard-hitting journalists, I think it’s just RESPONSIBLE to call their total lack of credentials and/or credibility out. Journalism, however marginalized it is and continues to be in our country, is in fact, a legitimate profession and area of expertise. It’s a thing you have to actually LEARN HOW TO DO.

      If Hasselbeck wanted to take a crack at removing Whoopi’s tonsils, I think we would all agree that that would be a bad idea. There are doctors who spend their lives learning how to perform surgery – just like ther are journalists who spend years learning how to ask Presidents of the United States questions.

      Also, I don’t think the comparison to Jon STewart holds up – his focus is almost entirely on providing satirical (and lately, not satirical at all, just serious and terrifying but somehow still funny) commentary. If Hasselback wants to be another red-faced screaming tea party head, I’d be much more ok with that than with her trying to really “grill” the President. We all know how to rant, we do not all know how to be a journalist.

  18. You guys, you all make some really valid and interesting points. That said, I think it would be great to see Jonny Fairplay grill Mitt Romney on Social Security.

  19. if there was one fucking phrase i could ban from the presidential election, it would be the phrase “middle class”. hell, the other day on npr they were talking about FOOD SECURITY ISSUES being MIDDLE CLASS. like, it is now MIDDLE CLASS to not be able to FEED YOURSELF. jesus h. christ.

    • What’s shocking about that? It’s tough feeding a family of 4 on $250,000 a year. I’ve had to stop shopping at Fox&Obel and join the riff-raff shopping at…shudder…Whole Foods!

      • oops, did I say “I’ve” had to stop shopping? I meant I’ve had to stop sending Rosalda on shopping trips to…

      • This also points out another aspect of the “Middle Class” discussion that is grossly incorrect. The news outlets and political commentary is treating this term like it can apply to anyone who makes from $20,000/year to $250,000/year. Those are both not middle class! I understand that different areas have sometimes large differences in the cost of living, but lets stop pretending that people who regularly max out their social security contributions every year (108ish K per individual) have the same problems as the family living paycheck to paycheck on a combined $50,000/year household income.

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