Barbara Walters Claims 'The View' Was Never Intended to Be 'Political Show'
During an interview on Sunday's edition of the new Fox News Channel program Media Buzz, Barbara Walters told host Howard Kurtz that The View -- the weekday program she created for ABC on August 11, 1997, and is retiring from next summer -- is neither political nor news-oriented since it was intended to be “entertaining and upbeat.”
“The View is not Meet the Press,” Walters said even though she admitted that “a lot of people do get their news” from the show, which features a discussion among five female co-hosts on a wide variety of topics. However, she noted that there was no panel on what Kurtz called “the national melodrama over the federal shutdown” because, the 84-year-old newscaster said, “I didn't think that was entertaining or upbeat.”
Kurtz stated that the program centers on what he called “water-cooler topics,” including breast implants, the infamous Kardashian family and whether couples should “do it” on their first date.
Walters replied that The View does take on subjects in the news, but:
When I created it, it was supposed to be different women of different opinions, maybe different generations, getting together and talking the way you wish you could at home but you're too busy doing the dishes.
It was not a news show.
“But in the past, you’ve had a political impact,” Kurtz noted. “During campaigns, you’ve had presidential candidates on.”
“But it’s not a political show,” Walters responded. “It was never meant to be. The fact that you can have a daytime show and do newsworthy subjects -- that is what was new. The fact that you can have primarily women discussing, arguing, disagreeing, live, that’s what was new about this show.”
She added that “a lot of shows have copied us with people sitting around and discussing a variety of topics." At that point, she noted, she points at the television screen and says "The View, The View."
The Media Buzz host referred to Walters as “having a career as a trailblazer,” first at NBC's weekday morning Today Show, then as the first female co-anchor in television history on the weeknight ABC Evening News with co-host Harry Reasoner.
However, she stated flatly that she “was a failure as the first woman newscaster.”
From 1979 to 2004, Walters worked as a co-host and a producer for the ABC newsmagazine 20/20. And from 1976 to 2010, she contributed as an anchor, reporter and correspondent for ABC News, along with producing and hosting very popular interview programs several times yearly.
When Kurtz reminded her of her tenure on the ABC prime-time news program, Walters said that the show now draws high ratings, but “it's not the newsmagazine that it was.”
She then remarked.
There are no newsmagazines anymore, except for 60 Minutes. The newsmagazine per se doesn't exist, so the kinds of interviews that I did, I would probably put them on Good Morning America.
We don't have the same programs, and we don't have the same need for those in-depth political interviews that we used to have. With the advent of cable, everybody has an opinion.
Walters then discussed several other co-hosts on The View who went on to bigger and better things, including liberal Joy Behar and conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
"I'm very proud of the people [on the program]," she added. "I didn't create them. Did I help to launch them? Yeah, and that makes me feel good. I have always been a big booster of other women. I've always worked with other women. If I have any Iegacy, that's it."
However, as NewsBusters previously reported, Walters and her fellow hosts on The View also have a record of favoring liberals and their causes.
On June 29, 2006, Walters welcomed former vice president Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, as guests on the program so they could share “an inconvenient truth that could destroy the entire planet,” global warming.
Then on December 23, 2011, she asked her guest, Barack Obama, a question worthy of inclusion in her “hall of shame” right next to her asking Katharine Hepburn what type of tree she'd choose to be.
In a preview of that night's interview, Walters is seen asking Obama: “If you were a superhero and you could have one super power, what would it be?”
Walters concluded Sunday's discussion by stating:
I've been on television forever, and I love it, but I'm not going to do it forever.
I want to leave while people like you still want to interview me. I don't want to be on so long that people ask: “Is she still on?”
There's no doubt that Barbara Walters has had an extensive and successful career, enough to survive being lampooned as "Baba Wawa" by the late Gilda Radner on the early days of Saturday Night Live. Still, there comes a time for everyone when enough is too much, and here's hoping she has a great retirement -- and her replacement on The View will make certain that the conservative viewpoint is well represented as the program goes on without her.