Salon's Rebecca Traister has a feature today noting something Tracie picked up on a few months ago: the heated presidential campaign has made daytime, female-oriented talk shows an increasingly legitimate political forum. Though no one would confuse Sherri Shepherd with Brian Williams, Shepherd and her fellow View-mates, along with Ellen DeGeneres and Rachael Ray, have become part of the political conversation. While Ray's interactions with John and Cindy and Barack and Michelle have been golden retriever-levels of fluffy, Traister notes that the usually placid DeGeneres has shown some edge during this election cycle, like when she grilled McCain about gay marriage. But as we're already well aware, our beloved ladies over at Barbara Walters' koffee klatch are the stand-outs of daytime TV when it comes to political commentary.McCain took his lumps on the View just like he did from Ellen, and Bill Clinton also faced the female firing squad of Whoopi, Joy, Elisabeth, Sherri and Babs. Though we all love to rag on Elisabeth, I think Sherri, whom Trasiter calls "increasingly radicalized," is perhaps the most interesting part of the View's particular alchemy. A Salon commenter articulates Sherri's growth during this election really well. "Although people over on the Huffington Post frequently deride Sherri Shepherd for some of her naive pronouncements, I find it fascinating to watch someone in the process of trying to work out a political worldview," writes a commenter named Benthead, "In particular, her attempt to negotiate her religious belief with a commitment to civil rights and pluralism." Obviously, a huge part of the appeal of The View is that the women on the panel are much more accessible to the viewing public than a wonky news anchor on CNN or even the more partisan MSNBC and Fox News. The one danger — and this is a criticism I've heard aimed at satirical shows like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show — is the possibility that a show like The View is a person's only source of political news. However, I'd imagine that anyone who looks to Babs and the team for their sole political fix probably wouldn't be reading anything about the election otherwise, so perhaps it's better that they get information in a less than serious way than not at all. How The Election Ate Daytime Television [Salon] John McCain Goes Through A Gauntlet Of Tough Broads On The View Sherri Shepherd Unleashes Rubber-Necking Rage On Elisabeth Hasselbeck
I like this trend of politicians appearing in a wide variety of venues, although I'm not down with the the 'celebrity' aspect. We're not a nation of pundits and political analysts so I find it refreshing to see which candidates can handle these informal interviews with grace & aplomb and which don't. Though I think the "just like us" theme is being pushed way too hard in some sectors, I doubt there are overwhelming numbers of people confusing The View with hard news.