Media outlets and news publications were abuzz last week over the news that Rosie O’Donnell will be making a surprise return to daytime television when she joins the cast of the ABC talk show The View in September, taking over for Meredith Vieira, who is moving to NBC’s Today. Rosie reportedly beat out Connie Chung, Patricia Heaton and Soledad O’Brien for the co-host position.
But how exactly is the media covering the news, especially in light of O’Donnell’s public advocacy of gay rights?
The news was first reported by the TV newsmagazine Extra, and has since been reported by the Associated Press and other sources, such as MSNBC and Fox News. Creator and cast member Barbara Walters announced the decision formally at Thursday’s Daytime Emmy awards.
Fans of Rosie, and the gay and lesbian community, are celebrating her return to daytime TV after she ended her talk show in 2002. Rosie’s activism in favor of gay and lesbian marriage over the past six years have made her a very visible figure. She and her partner Kelli Carpenter O’Donnell are parents to four children. The pair started a cruise line for families headed by same-sex partners that was recently featured in the documentary All Aboard: Rosie’s Family Cruise.
“Rosie’s unique blend of wit, wisdom and passionate family advocacy will be a perfect addition to The View,” Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said in a written statement. “We’re thrilled to have Rosie back on daytime television and excited that she’ll be able to bring stories about her life and family to millions across America.”
But as Rosie has become a lesbian icon, she has also become a target for conservatives.
Conservative National Review magazine columnist Myrna Blyth referred to the new co-host as “Rosie the Rottweiler,” called her “rude, crude, and snide,” and wrote that “She palmed herself off to her audiences as just your typical single, working mom who cared about cooking, kids, and crafts. Of course, not many single working moms are multimillionaire lesbians with bodyguards for their kids and a political point of view similar to Michael Moore’s.”