It was leaked by The Daily Mail today that Meghan McCain will be announcing her resignation from The View at the end of today’s episode. To make things juicier, she still has two years left on her contract, and her co-hosts, at least at the time of publication, were unaware that McCain was planning to resign on-air. The Daily Mail’s source allegedly said that the show had tried to keep McCain, “but she is adamant that now is the time for her to leave.” So why is McCain running away from such a cushy daytime gig for any wannabe celebrity (I mean no offense to one Whoopi Goldberg, who is obviously the exception to that rule)? And what does this mean for the future of The View?
It’s not McCain’s fault that daytime television viewers love to see a fight. The genre is essentially dedicated to raucous rivalry. But what is McCain’s fault is the Jerry Springer-esque flavor she brought to The View, a historically more tempered, but still lively long-running talk show. McCain loved to push the conservative agenda she was put on the show to “represent” (read: ruffle feathers with for ratings) so much that it’s rumored that she chased former fellow conservative co-host, Abby Huntsman, off of the show. CNN stoked the rumor mill, spreading that McCain bullied Huntsman for talking about her children after McCain shared her personal upset of a miscarriage on the show. Enter motherhood, the never not dominating dominion of conservative women. Sorry not sorry, but I don’t want to hear about how much McCain hates “cancel culture” when she’s out here cancelling her own allies simply for existing with children.
While it’s unsurprising that Meghan McCain was put on The View by show runners eager to tap into an ever-polarizing America, there is a lack of culpability for the McCain Machine they created. While on The View, she was able to do what conservatives spent the Trump years doing, while having the upper, aggressive hand the whole time: victimize themselves. Co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sara Haines and Sunny Hostin held McCain’s feet to the conservative fire she spewed, as she accused them of things like supporting infanticide, but McCain always seemed to retreat and act as though she was the one who was attacked.
In one terse exchange where Goldberg told McCain, “Girl, please stop talking” during a debate over Trump’s first impeachment proceedings, McCain took to Twitter the next day to accuse Goldberg of using the term “girl” to infantilize her. I believe she knew full well that the way Goldberg used “girl” is colloquial slang, and McCain villainizing it is a racist dog whistle. It was a Republican bait and switch expertly executed by a blue blood of conservative lineage and vengeful war tactics.
Nonetheless, Goldberg opened the show the next day telling everyone that the verbal dust up was just an occupational hazard of being a host on The View, and nothing to be concerned about. The fact that Goldberg had to be the one to smooth things over on live television, after simply telling a woman who needed to shut up to shut up, is the kind of self-victimizing gaslighting that makes McCain a professional conservative troll, whose intentions are nefarious.
The View has always had on air contentions, as co-creator, former host, and all around journalistic baddie, Barbara Walters, originally designed. Walters famously feuded with co-host Debbie Matenopoulos in the late ‘90s for partying too much while being a host of the show, and defaming herself in public when she was caught topless at a dive bar. Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck infamously went at it for 10 minutes over the Iraq War in 2007. Star Jones and Joy Behar had a storied contention that covered everything from leaking Jones’ gastric bypass to the media, to in-fighting over messy dressing rooms. Those are just a few of a myriad examples of clashing personalities on The View in its two-decade history which includes 22 hosts. But I’d argue past issues have either been off camera, or a case of hosts engaging in thoughtful debate (we’ll exclude Jenny McCarthy from this dialogue — the anti-vax acid trip that she is as a persona doesn’t add anything to this argument).
It’s fair to have a daytime talk space where people with different views can come to agree to disagree. But Meghan McCain added the kind of discourse that became prominent over the last administration, the kind where everyone is attacking the conservative, and they’re just trying to live in this world that ostracizes them so heavily. It’s hard to stomach such a manipulative view of the truth from members of the party that routinely disenfranchises voters of color, removes rights from and demoralizes queer people, and continues a war on reproductive rights. I hope whoever fills the void McCain’s presence will certainly leave is a more reasoned voice of the conservative party, but seeing casting trends, it’ll probably be Tomi Lahren.