'Showbiz Tonight' Trumpets Hasselbeck 'Controversy'

Is an implicitly mild anti-Michelle Obama comment worse than an overt anti-Catholic remark? According to the CNN Headline News show "Showbiz Tonight" on Monday September 8, they apparently are. While they ignored Joy Behar’s inflammatory remarks comparing the saints to mental patients, they were all over Elisabeth Hasselbeck for revealing that Michelle Obama provided a list of forbidden questions. For the record, Hasselbeck said "unlike the wife of a political candidate who shall remain nameless, she didn't come with a list of topics we weren't allowed to touch."

Reliable Obama supporter and CNN contributor Roland Martin alleged Hasselbeck "gets her information from Sean ‘Little Bowl of Hate Hannity" and drinks "Hatorade." To provide some balance one guest said "she shouldn’t be shot." The one caller, Deborah from Georgia, pleaded for Hasselbeck's firing. Everyone’s complaint with "The View" co-host involved revealing what occurred behind the scenes with Michelle Obama.

None of the panelists seemed the slightest bit concerned that Joy Behar revealed an off camera exchange with Senator John McCain chastising him as "anti-woman" for not supporting abortion on demand. Curiously, no one on "Showbiz Tonight" or anyone on CNN, with the notable exception of Glenn Beck, took issue with Joy Behar labeling the Catholic saints mentally ill.

The transcript follows.

BROOKE ANDERSON: All right, gang. I want to start with a story that "Showbiz Tonight" first broke - those controversial comments by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Now, these comments were made at a luncheon during the Republican National Convention. Take a look at what Hasselbeck said about the difference between when Cindy McCain came on "The View" and when Michelle Obama came on "The View." Watch this.

HASSELBECK: Cindy came into our hair and makeup room, fresh as can be, and unlike another wife of a political candidate who shall remain nameless, she didn`t come with a list of topics that we weren`t allowed to touch. No. That`s because she has nothing to hide.

ANDERSON: Ouch! Roland, is this just a classic example of how now even daytime TV has become involved in this explosive race?

MARTIN: Well, you`ve got to understand, when you have somebody like Elisabeth Hasselbeck who gets her information from Sean "Little Bowl of Hate" Hannity, that`s what you would expect, OK? That`s what you`re dealing with. I mean, the reality is all candidates, always - and even the spouses want to find out what we`re talking about, what are we covering. Look, I`ve even put in interview requests with Sen. John McCain campaign. And you of course want to know, what`s the show? What`s the topic? What are covering? That`s what folks - look. Elisabeth Hasselbeck - she simply drives it up with "hatorade" all day long. So it`s no surprise she would take a shot at Michelle Obama. Look at some of the crazy comments she`s made on the show.

ANDERSON: Ashleigh, what do you think? Is this really indicative of how daytime TV is getting more and more involved in this race?

BANFIELD: I don`t know. I sort of felt that way since 2000. I mean, are we all forgetting Rosie O`Donnell and how political she was during her tenure at "The View" as well? I honestly truly believe more of the fighting is going on on Comedy Central. I think they`re doing a better job of doing great satire and involving all sorts of different stories and hypocrisy. And I think also cable news has it pretty much sewn up as well. So while some might be dabbling in daytime, I don`t think decisions are going to be made there.

ANDERSON: Okay. Well, a lot of "Showbiz Tonight" viewers reached out to us and demanded that Elisabeth be reprimanded by "The View" for what she said. The calls came in to our "Showbiz on Call" line. Listen to what Deborah from Georgia had to say.

DEBORAH, CALLER FROM GEORGIA: I have wanted to have Elisabeth removed from "The View" for years now. Her comments about Michelle Obama at the Republican convention were unheard of. Please fire Elizabeth. I am going to start a protest.

ANDERSON: OK. Deborah is going to start a protest. She wants her to be fired. Howard, do you think Elisabeth should be fired for, you know, really kind of breaking an unwritten rule in TV talk shows, talking publicly about what goes on backstage with the guests?

HOWARD BRAGMAN, FOUNDER, FIFTEEN MINUTES PUBLIC REALTIONS: Brooke, I really am not a big fan of Elisabeth, as you know. But this is sort of a first offense and, no, she shouldn`t be fired. She shouldn`t be shot. Wait, did I say that? What should happen is, behind the scenes, they should give her the dignity that she didn`t give Michelle Obama and they should reprimand her behind the scenes with dignity and with discretion. And that`s what they should do and hopefully she learns from it. She`s not going anywhere. They love her right wing, firebrand style on "The View" because she`s a good complement to Joy and Whoopi there. So she`s not going anywhere right now. But she should get a little talking to.

MARTIN: And Brooke, here`s the problem here. We all interview people all the time and the reality is, you do keep what`s behind closed doors behind closed doors. I mean, we came out and said, when so-and-so came in grumpy or so-and-so cussed out a staffer or they were upset. We all could sit here in public for analysis, put that on blogs if you`re thinking on those lines.

But there is an unwritten rule what you do behind closed doors on these shows, it stays behind closed doors. Now, how about if Whoopi or Sherri or someone else says, "Well, you know what? Cindy McCain came in and was rude to our entire staff." How would Elisabeth feel if that`s the story as well? And so, yes, she might want to keep it under wraps. But again, we`re not surprised by it because their political views have come out in the open. It was no surprise she would take a shot like that.

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