Meghan McCain is leaving "The View."
One assumes that regular readers of editorial pages and political magazines aren't exactly the prime audience for a daytime-television show. And one also assumes that a not insignificant number of Republicans aren't fans of McCain because of her sharp criticism of former President Donald Trump.
Yet I think it's fair to say that McCain was probably one of the most consequential conservatives in media over the past four years. For one thing, "The View" captures a larger audience than any cable-news show in the country. It is watched by millions of Americans who are otherwise subjected to a nearly uninterrupted barrage of leftist political perspectives. During her four years on the show, McCain confronted numerous high-profile Democrats with questions that they would otherwise never have been asked. Quite often, I suspect, she brought up issues that a majority of the audience weren't even aware existed.
When James Comey was being treated like an American hero by an unctuous media, McCain confronted him over his phony apolitical posturing: "You sound like a political commentator to me." When the disgraced Andrew McCabe turned up on "The View" and fueled conspiracies theories about Russia directing Trump to fire Comey -- my God, what insanity we endured -- she told him: "I don't believe you're a reliable narrator. And I'm not convinced this isn't just some kind of PR campaign to stop yourself from getting indicted."
It was McCain who confronted former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, by then a CNN contributor, about his contention, under oath, that the United States did not engage in the data collection of millions of Americans. "In 2013, when you were asked about it, you said no," McCain said. "So that is a lie."
When CNN Brian Stelter was on the show preening about journalistic ethics, she said:
"There's a 2016 audio of your president, Jeff Zucker, offering debate advice to President Trump that was released. Jake Tapper was recently caught trying to allegedly influence a congressional election, and I have serious problems with the way Chris Cuomo had a reoccurring prime-time sort of comic routine with his brother instead of asking about policies that were literally sending my friend Janice Dean's older relatives to die in nursing homes ... Do you believe that this is acceptable?"
As the media were reporting on Republican "pouncing," McCain confronted Kamala Harris about her support for defunding the police, twice -- before the then-presidential candidate offered some evasive gibberish about how she "reimagined" public safety. She called out Pete Buttigieg's radical support for abortion into the ninth month. "What if a woman wanted to invoke infanticide after a baby was born; you'd be comfortable with that?" McCain asked Buttigieg, who did not offer a straightforward answer. She also asked Amy Klobuchar about Ralph Northam's comments on infanticide: "Are you for what he said or late-term abortion or the moments that he was talking about where he would keep a woman 'comfortable' as she was giving birth in case she wanted to abort her third-term child?" The presidential candidate refused to answer. This is not, needless to say, the type of conversation one normally hears on major networks.
McCain asked Elizabeth Warren, who had only recently been feted by the likes of Rachel Maddow and Seth Meyers, to explain why she changed her description of Qassem Soleimani from "murderer" to "military official." "I don't understand the flip-flop," McCain said. "I don't understand why it was so hard to call him a terrorist, and I would just like you to explain the change." Three times McCain asked. And three times Warren deflected. When McCain challenged Raphael Warnock -- who enjoyed a free ride in 2020 -- to explain why he wouldn't take a position on the left's court-packing scheme, he refused to answer. And when McCain pressed him, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg stepped in to end the interview.
McCain was probably also the only person on a major network who brought up, on numerous occasions, the normalization of antisemitism among progressives in the Democratic Party.
These are just some of the exchanges that come to mind. There were surely others. Now, I don't regularly watch "The View." All I know is that very few conservatives ever get access to powerful Democrats. McCain did. And she wasn't scared to pose tough questions. Which is a lot more than we can say for most of the political media.