January 28, 2016

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, another loser in the decline of the culture wars (lede buried btw)

Well, having deflated the hype around the likes of Kat Timpf and Megyn Kelly, let's go right on ahead with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the token conservative on The View for a decade, and more recently co-host on the Fox & Friends morning talk show. She was a shining example of the "values conservative" type, whose fortunes have evaporated now that conservatism is finally about nationalism and populism, not dead-ends like abortion, family values, and so on.

I want to be clear that I sympathize with audiences who want there to be values-conservative icons. We live in a pretty depraved world today, and it would be nice for there to be role models to guide us or at least serve as a standard we measure ourselves against. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to vet these models to make sure that they are who they say they are.

With matters like populism, we can simply check to see how much money they've taken from Wall Street banks, or whatever else. With moral values, the actions that provide proof are usually private and deeply held secrets -- or maybe they're not really there after all. But if there is damning evidence, it will probably be hard to uncover without devoting massive resources to unearthing it.

What we get instead is a contest to see who is holier than thou, each of the competitors striving to maximize their morality stats in order to draw in the largest crowd of eyeballs to sell to TV advertisers or book publishers.

In Hasselbeck's case, her schtick on The View (from 2003 to 2013) was standard cuckservatism of the 2000s -- protesting against abortion while accepting its finality, and shilling hard for the Iraq War well into the late Bush years. She still hadn't figured out which nationality brought down the World Trade Center on 9/11.

But those views were a dime a dozen back then. What drew in huge audiences of youngish and middle-aged women was the aggressive cultivation of her persona as a wholesome, traditional, yet hip mother-and-wife who could also hold down a career and look great on national TV every day. This lifestyle and persona appeal of hers continued into the transition to a more officially conservative venue, the Fox & Friends morning talk show, in 2013.

And then a strange thing happened -- late last year, she abruptly announced she would be leaving not just the show, but the network and the medium, indefinitely. I never watched Fox News, let alone The View, so I didn't think anything of it at the time (I did happen to be watching the morning show a little). If she stuck with The View for an entire decade, and now had a venue more suitable to her, why on Earth would she be leaving so early?

Her official reason was that she was entering a "season" where her kids needed her to be there full-time, and that she needed to give them "the best of me, not the rest of me". Again, not knowing anything about her career history at the time, I took that at face value. Nothing weird about a female conservative icon heeding the calling of domestic duties over career ambitions.

But if she was at The View for a decade, she likes not only having a career but being on TV. There's no way that desire would have stopped so suddenly in late 2015. She'd only just gotten going on her Fox career, having been there for only two years.

As for her kids, by late 2015 they were 6, 8, and 10 years old -- still needing maternal supervision, but not exactly in their most vulnerable stages of development. In fact, Hasselbeck kept working in daily TV production when her children were infants, and indeed while she was pregnant. A 2007 notice from People magazine said that while she would take some maternity leave, she would host the show right up until her due date. And of course she didn't end her busy TV career once she had one, two, and then three kids. As infants, toddlers, and schoolchildren, the three of them were growing up with a full-time working mother, which clearly did not bother her.

Why the sudden maternal guilt? There wasn't even a triggering event like another pregnancy, a crisis in the family, or something else.

Apart from hosting a daily TV show, she also wrote two books about the gluten-free diet in '08 and '12, when her children were infant to school-aged. This separate career track didn't cause her to reconsider how much or how little time her kids were getting from their mother. Building her personal media brand came first.

Then there's the timing of her departure from Fox: she bowed out during the Christmas / New Year's period (Dec 22), when the fewest possible viewers would be paying attention. If she's such a beloved icon, she should have waited until her fans were not so distracted by the back-to-back holidays to share their final moments with her. Maybe host the New Year's Eve celebration, and end on a high note.

This is also the most highly watched election season in recent memory, so it makes even less sense to bail now than during the relatively more boring seasons of the 21st century.

So why the abrupt and indefinite self-sequestering of a values-conservative icon? If this item from Blind Gossip is to be believed, she may have had an affair with a married man -- none other than the Donald himself. The item was reported on Aug 13, 2015:

Whether you love or hate this Presidential Candidate, he certainly gets people talking. One of those people is a female journalist from a large media company. She had an affair with the married Candidate. She has been talking to friends and colleagues about how worried she is that the story of the affair will break nationally and ruin them both.

Obviously the candidate is Trump. Because this came out one week after the first GOP debate where Megyn Kelly obsessively hounded him, almost every commenter at Blind Gossip figured that the journalist was her -- no wonder she behaved like a vindictive jilted lover!

But several pieces of the item don't really fit with it being Kelly. If she and Trump had an affair, and the news of it broke nationally, it would not ruin either of them. Trump's affair with Marla Maples during his first marriage is well known, and he has even said that those episodes are fair game in this election season (again, nobody cares about these topics this time around, so he exposes himself to almost no risk in being so frank about the affair).

Nor would it ruin Kelly -- it would certainly make for big-league awkwardness, but she has not built her personal brand on being the most moral family-values icon under 40 or 50. Her persona is being sassy, bossy, edgy, etc. -- not a traditional wife and mother with wholesome girl-next-door appeal.

Also, the word "talking" is used twice in the brief blind item, suggesting a talk show more than a reaction/analysis show like the Kelly File. In fact, the word "friends" conspicuously appears in the item as well, and Hasselbeck's talk show is called Fox & Friends. Before that she was on another talk show for a decade.

Certainly Hasselbeck would be ruined if it came out that she had an affair, with a married man, who was "notorious womanizer bla bla bla" Donald Trump. There goes her whole trad/con family values brand, and she's forced to eke out a living on the comic con circuit, signing autographs for nerds who bring pictures of her stint on Survivor.

The image in the blind item also looks a lot more like Hasselbeck, showing a newswoman who is more prim and proper, upbeat, and suppressing a grin rather than plastering it across her face like bossypants caricature Megyn Kelly would have done.

(The only other guess at Blind Gossip was Katy Tur, but she was openly Keith Olbermann's cohabiting sex doll, so she could not have been ruined by news of having a fling with Trump.)

Fearing that the intense scrutiny during this spectacle of an election season might turn up the frontrunner's affair with one of the hosts on a show that regularly interviews him, she decided to get out of the limelight as fast as possible, making sure to slather on the "doting mother" imagery for good protective measure before leaving.

Trump has already said that he could walk out into the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and his voters would still remain loyal to him. During one of the debates, Ann Coulter tweeted something to the effect of, "They can start aborting babies in the White House, as long as we fix the immigration problem once and for all". So even if this affair does get picked up by a more mainstream source than a gossip site, with more of the details and credible sourced filled in, it wouldn't even put a dent in Trump's momentum. "Seriously, you banged Hasselbeck? High-five bro!"

I'm putting all this out there to really hammer home the dead-end and corrupting nature of the values conservatism movement. Trump never campaigned on being for family values, anti-abortion, prayer in public schools, etc. Not that he is against all those concepts like the liberals are -- just that this election is not the time and the place for them. Pushing them has gotten us nowhere anyway.

But the movement sure was great for puffing up the status and bank account of icons like Hasselbeck who market themselves aggressively based on their wholesome holier-than-thou persona, while having affairs away from the cameras, not to mention letting someone else raise her kids while they're little, and then claiming her media departure is because her children need mommy by their side.

Who was she, anyway? A reality show contestant, an airheaded Bush cheerleader, and a self-aggrandizing gluten-free evangelist. Sorry, we may be desperate for moral icons, but not that desperate.


  1. Is the Blind Gossip site generally reliable?

  2. I've never heard of Hasselbeck, but she's a babe. The affair must not have been recent since I would think that Trump would keep it in his pants from now on.

    I would think most people who are afraid of a secret getting out would wait until the very end of it being revealed, especially when we're talking about the amount of money Hasselbeck was making. Unless her husband found out, and she wanted to reduce her income before he filed for divorce.

    Is Blind Gossip still reliable? I wish they would solve more of their blinds, but they have alerted readers to some crazy stuff that no one else heard about. I read Blind Gossip just because I always figured Hollywood was full of hypocrites, especially how the industry is rife with homos. It really has opened up my eyes about how Hollywood really manipulates so many people's images.

  3. I was only vaguely aware of her from about 10 years ago. Wasn't aware she was still around.

    Hasselbeck, from Rhode Island, named two of her kids Taylor and Isaiah.

  4. This might explain why Trump was so rough with Rosie O'Donnell. I know Rosie said some things but Donald became unglued and went too far. Hasselbeck is good looking, a bit thin, but putting your career on hold might make it tougher to restart in 5 or 10 years then she thinks.

  5. Here, too, is someone with an unconventionally-spelled first name.

    She's also a "blonde" with brown eyes.

  6. I didn't even know that she's married to Tim Hasselbeck. He had money from his NFL days, and is now a pretty good analyst on ESPN. So he's obviously not going to sue her for alimony if they get divorced.

    Let's wait until Tim files for divorce.

  7. Her husband makes the story more believable. Despite being a former quarterback, he's a politically correct ESPN guy, looks soft, and doesn't make anyone think "alpha".

  8. Waiting for CH analysis of this Trump/Hasselbeck pic: http://crooksandliars.com/files/primary_image/15/12/trump_and_the_meat_puppets.png

  9. I noticed the two of them being awfully friendly during the fall/winter appearances, and Trump giving her a ringing endorsement when she went after the White House press secretary (or whoever) about Obama refusing to use the words "radical Islamic terrorism". Trump said the guy hadn't done his opposition research, or he would've learned that Elisabeth is one tough cookie, etc.

    I brushed that off at the time to Trump putting the charm on any young babe he comes across.

    Aside from that picture, check out this video from 2007 when Rosie and Elisabeth were tearing into each other over the Iraq War. Trump chimes in to side with Rosie for once, while still dissing her, in order to dismiss Elisabeth as an imbecile for being so pro-Iraq War:


    Look at her face from 15-17 seconds, when she's calling Trump "obnoxious". She doesn't have an angry or disgusted expression -- she's clearly excited and exasperated. "That bad boy who won't call me back!"

    For those who can't check YouTube at the moment, here's a news item from Fox's website at the time:

    “On this one I think Rosie should win, but Rosie is not much herself. I think anybody that’s against the war in Iraq is the winner of the fight, because to justify the war in Iraq — only an imbecile could do that," he told "Extra."

    About Hasselbeck’s political views, especially on the war in Iraq, he added, “Elisabeth is not a very smart person, she’s one of the dumber people in television. To see that she supports the war, and she’s solidly behind the war, give me a break.”

    Trump later told reporters that Hasselbeck was "probably the dumbest person on TV."

  10. Blind Gossip is pretty reliable. The operator of the site is a well connected insider, I believe on the PR side of things. He puts out insider info well ahead of schedule, and solves items typically when a mainstream site goes public with them, saying "See, I told you so".

    His connections and sources are almost all in the media/entertainment world, not politics per se. But with both Trump and Hasselbeck being media celebrities, I wouldn't find it hard to believe that his web of sources includes someone who would know about any affair they could have had.

  11. "Her husband makes the story more believable. Despite being a former quarterback, he's a politically correct ESPN guy, looks soft, and doesn't make anyone think "alpha"."

    It also makes it more believable that she's the type who would give in to temptation, especially with a bad boy like Trump. She didn't fall for a bean-counter but a football player, so she digs bad boys and probably has a high libido problem.

    (Pictures of her from Survivor show her wearing an ear-to-ear grin for much of the time -- definitely not the kind of girl you trust as a wife.)

  12. What do you think of Maine, Vetmont, and New Hampshire often matching western states to an extent in being libertarian, small government, rural small towns? Maine and Vermont were the only states to oppose FDR in one year after all.

  13. Watching the FNC 1/28 debate (the one Trump is boycotting). I'm finding it difficult to focus due to Megyn Kelly's excessively professional haircut. She has evidently opted for a haircut borrowed from Madonna in the 1980s... or possibly inspired by Brigitte Nielsen in Red Sonja (1985 film). Will her seriousness as a journalist ever stop increasing?

  14. I was tuned into the Trump rally, but from the pictures I've seen of her hair, I'm starting to wonder if she isn't a dyke -- hardly surprising if true.

    Here's a post I wrote on the matter earlier, "Why do butch dykes copy the hair-do's of twink fags rather than men?"


    Her current hair-do looks very much like a gay whoosh -- very steep sideways angle, and puffed up big like a pompadour. Only she has her part close to the center, rather than the severe side part that the gay whoosh has.

    Women, even careerist women, don't opt for that kind of hair-do. If she were the typical heterosexual woman trying to make a big statement with her hair, the current trend is big wavy-curly hair parted in the middle and hanging down.

    Her hair-do tonight -- and perhaps recently on her show too, not just a one-time thing for the high-profile debate -- looks like she's taking cues from gay men. And only dykes view gay men as masculine. So ironically they think they're looking macho, but the butches wind up looking like wimpy little twinks (the only males who are in their LGBT field of view).

  15. That would also make the similarity of her show and Rachel Maddow's show even more uncanny. Also, why she doesn't mind Hillary Clinton so much (a fellow dyke), and why she exudes zero sex appeal or feminine charisma.

    I find it much harder to spot lesbians than fags, but that whoosh-y looking hair-do can be a major tipoff. What woman tries so hard to get her hair-do to look like a twink's?

  16. I have a source that used to be at Fox News who says that when she was there they often spread false rumors about their staff to drum up ratings. Take it or leave it.

  17. Your analysis has a lot going for it, but I'm skeptical that the blind item is legit. The blind seems a bit thin, but legit or a nasty hit, suspect you're right about who the two are supposed to be.
    I'm Hasselbeck's age and find it difficult, but not impossible, to believe Trump would be found attractive enough despite his personal charms. On the other hand, when I googled to see if your theory was floating out there with some meat on it, it does seem that maybe there was possible infidelity on her husband's end several years ago? If true, that might make her vulnerable to seeking affection elsewhere and Trump seems genuinely warm with people he likes.

    I'd expect a few more details, like when, less of an age gap, and therefore lean more towards this being a political hit.

  18. It could be a hit, but given how much the entire Establishment has wanted to take down Trump, I think they would've been putting out many more of these.

    And this blind item was from way back in August when it was still thinkable to the elites that he'd sputter out. They're really desperate now, yet I haven't seen anything potentially damaging Trump on that site, and I follow it regularly.

    And then there's the matter of why Hasselbeck left so abruptly, when few would notice, and why her reason makes no sense -- "being with family" despite 12 continuous years doing daily television, while one two and three children were born and growing up.

    She stayed on The View for a decade, and probably planned on being a fixture on Fox for another decade. She was a reality show star before that. She writes one gluten-free book after another. She obviously loves the spotlight, so something really big freaked her out.

    I doubt that Trump wooed her like you're thinking -- I'm sure it was something to get herself a good recommendation, job interview, etc., something that only a Big Man like Trump could have secured for her.

    A modern career gal has to get those elusive high-powered insider connections however she can.

  19. For example, Trump could've mentioned that his pal of 35 years is a guy named Bill O'Reilly, who owes him many favors from over the years. Maybe she's on The View and loving it for now, but it's always nice to have an ace in the hole in case anything happens on her current show.

    You do me a favor, I can get O'Reilly to do you a favor at Fox News. Wouldn't it be so much more elegant, Elisabeth, to be on a news channel where people will respect you more, than taking part in a hen party on daytime network TV? Just think about it and get back to me.

  20. Sidebar -- what did O'Reilly *really* mean when, in pleading with him to do the Fox debate, he said Trump owed him for all the "vanilla milkshakes" he's bought Trump over the years? Apparently something embarrassing enough for O'Reilly that Trump said not to bring up the debt.

    We know Trump is a teetotaler, so it wasn't substances -- which Trump could've bought anyway, far more than O'Reilly could have.

    His main vice is women, obviously. But what kind of women could only O'Reilly have access to, that Trump would not -- either from being the head of the Trump Organization (real estate, reality TV, beauty pageants, etc.), or from buying it outright with his billions of dollars?

    Perhaps they're the kind of women that Trump has access to, but they only come by once in a long while, and if O'Reilly could send more of this type his way, it would double his pleasure in a given year.

    From the impersonal way the code refers to them, I'm assuming they're of low status, at least compared to O'Reilly and Trump. Highly desirable, though not ones who could be bought off with money or in-kind gifts, and who wouldn't find him attractive / charming enough to sleep with.

    I'm thinking college interns at Fox News, or maybe a little out of college and trying to get their media career started. Jump-starting a career in the hyper-competitive world of New York City media -- how badly do they want it?

  21. Random Dude on the Internet1/30/16, 7:43 PM

    It may just be...vanilla milkshakes: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/bill-o-reilly-donald-trump-love-milkshakes-photo-proof-article-1.2512368

    If O'Reilly did help Trump secure some FNC interns, then I suspect Fox News would have unleashed this story already. If not Fox News, then someone, either the interns themselves, someone who knew the interns, etc. would have said something already.

    Not that it matters. As you mentioned, Trump having an affair wouldn't do much damage anyway. It may even help him. He is going up against Hillary Clinton, who is America's ex-wife or the outside chance of Bernie Sanders, a cold fish socialist. A tough talking man with a red blooded sex drive might be more endearing to men and even some women, then the alternative.

  22. It's not really milkshakes.

    How many do you think they could possibly add up to, for it to equal a capitulation from Trump to join the debate he's sworn to boycott and hold a counter-debate, after being insulted by the debate host network?

    Trump not being there could have cost Fox News around $20 million in lost ad revenue:


    Assume that they were off by a lot, and Trump "only" cost them $1 million in lost ad revenue. How much do those milkshakes cost? Say they're expensive, $10. That's 100,000 milkshakes. Even over 35 years, that's nearly 8 milkshakes every single day for 35 straight years -- in other words, no way.

    If O'Reilly hooked Trump up, there would definitely be a NDA (non-disclosure agreement), where the intern signs her life away if she blabs about it. Trump is very legally savvy, especially about relationships with women.

    Trump's only red-blooded male competitor is Biden, and that would be great since Trump is basically warm and charming, while Biden is the creepy uncle who can barely hide it.

  23. And what's so "embarrassing" for O'Reilly about having bought Trump a lot of vanilla milkshakes over the years? The debt is clearly some kind of deeply guarded secret, so severe that Trump said I'm going to pretend you didn't ask me that question.

    Another thing: after Trump turned him down, O'Reilly said OK, "you owe me 17 milkshakes." Only 17? Sometime in this century, 17 has become a generic number meaning "a lot" -- like on the order of dozens, not hundreds and not under 10.

    Buying Trump only dozens of milkshakes doesn't even come close to equaling the favor of Trump giving Fox all that ad revenue, it's not an embarrassing amount (maybe if he bought thousands, or millions of milkshakes -- but only dozens?), and it's not the kind of thing that would be so off-limits that Trump specifically insisted that O'Reilly not bring it up, and that would cause Trump to say "I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that".

  24. Random Dude on the Internet1/30/16, 10:38 PM

    I guess the question would be why Donald Trump would use Fox News as his own personal escort agency? Surely there are a hojillion agencies that would accommodate even the most ironclad NDAs. I'm sure this is already the case for a lot of wealthy executives and business owners.

    I'm not saying you're wrong and unfortunately we'll probably never find out what those milkshakes are. My belief is that due to Trump pissing off so many people, it is likely that there are a lot of people who have combed and scoured every corner and crevice to find something to take him down. Even with ironclad NDAs, surely they could find a few of those girls who would be willing to speak out, as long as the DNC, RNC, or whoever would foot whatever legal bills came their way.

  25. "Surely there are a hojillion agencies that would accommodate even the most ironclad NDAs."

    But then he'd have to sleep with hookers -- not an alpha move at all.

    Fox interns can't have slept with too many guys already, and not being professionals, they won't be jaded, and won't be hamming up their performance (so to speak).

    Only a dweeb like Eliot Spitzer would go the route of high-priced escorts. Trump may not exactly bed the interns 100% naturally, but he gets a much higher quality girl.

  26. Another thing that stands out is O'Reilly's tone -- he was so indignant when he scolded Trump about "You owe me for all those vanilla milkshakes!"

    Only a Jew would get that bent out of shape over the cost of literal vanilla milkshakes. O'Reilly hooked Trump up with something that was a much rarer treasure -- over and over again during their decades-long friendship. Being the finder or middleman or headhunter for such a rare treasure would be enough to make O'Reilly indignant about Trump not opting to cancel that debt.

    As for one of them coming forth, worst-case scenario he has billions of dollars and/or lucrative career spots to keep them quiet. Someone who hops on the casting couch is not the ideologically minded type, and just wants money and job security.


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