Barbara Walters Suggests 'The View' Will Get Some Political Balance Again: 'We Need a Conservative Voice'

MRC's Scott Whitlock found a newsy tidbit from an April article in Variety magazine. Former Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh reported from a Barbara Walters interview that "The View" lost both its edgier political personalities -- right-leaning Elisabeth Hasselbeck and leftist insult comedienne Joy Behar -- due to network pressure on her and the show's producer Bill Geddie.

“These are not Barbara and Bill’s decisions,” Walters says. “The network is also involved. I think the feeling was if one went, both had to leave. We needed to shake things up.” It sounds like co-hosts from both sides may return in the fall:

That will certainly happen in the show’s 18th season, which will likely add two new co-hosts. Plus there will be a void from the natural gravitas Walters lent to the program. “We’re experimenting a little bit,” she says. “Sometimes we think we should add a man.” And it looks like “The View” will hire another right-leaning personality to keep those Hot Topics segments heated. “We need a conservative voice,” Walters says. “We do try to present a different side.”

Scott reports that Hasselbeck's last day was July 10, 2013. Behar's last day was August 9, 2013. In February, "The View" tried out some right-leaning ladies, including Dana Loesch, Mary Katherine Ham, and ESPN anchor Sage Steele (who recently appeared again).

Walters says never-say-never on making an occasional appearance: “I don’t want to say I will never come back,” she said. “If the president came on, depending on the circumstances, I might come back. If Fidel Castro said I will do an interview with you, which he has not in 25 years, I would go off and do it.”

We can't help but recall this hoary Barbara Walters segment on Cuba in 2002: “For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.”

Walters told People magazine recently that during her 1977 interview with Fidel Castro "I spent 10 days with him, traveled through the mountains and held his gun in my lap....People thought we had a romance, but we never did."

Despite the gooey Castro interviews, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the Fox morning anchor who sat next to Walters for a decade on “The View,” is still grateful, as the told Variety. “I attended the Barbara Walters University,” Hasselbeck says. “I could not feel more prepared to interview anyone.”

PS: There is a little meow-meow from the diva when CBS’s copycat show “The Talk” came up:

Walters says she’s never seen a full episode of “The Talk,” though she’s friendly with [host Julie] Chen and her husband, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves. Her competitive streak shines through as she sizes up her rival. “We are not at all affected by ‘The Talk,’” Walters says. “I don’t think the success of her show diminishes us, nor do I think the success or failure of ‘The View’ affects them. The only thing I’ll say is if you’re married to the president of the network, you get more promos.”

It’s a good punch line, but Walters is half serious. “I envy that,” she says. “I don’t have the same appeal to [ABC boss] Bob Iger.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis