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Jewish World Review
Nov 16, 2011
/ 19 Mar-Cheshvan 5772
Clinton's vast experiences: Did NBC pick the wrong Chelsea?
In announcing his network's newest "special correspondent," NBC News President Steve Capus gushed, "Given her vast experiences, it's as though Chelsea Clinton has been preparing for this all her life."
Capus has apparently been absent from the front lines of journalism for a couple of decades because if the former first daughter is known for anything, it is her driven determination to avoid the press, an endeavor in which she was aided by phalanxes of press aides and Secret Service agents.
The Washington Post's TV columnist labeled her the "Most Artful Media Dodger." Her principal credential for joining the ranks of journalists is her skill at blowing them off.
But former CNN President Jonathan Klein insists, "She's going to have ways of looking at our world that's different from a run-of-the-mill correspondent."
Klein also apparently has been absent from the front lines of journalism, since it's a backhanded insult at all the aspiring young TV reporters who didn't have the foresight to include in their journalism resume a mother who is secretary of state and a father who is a former two-term president.
Following a path trod by Jenna Bush Hager and Meghan McCain, Clinton was able to stroll right into two slots on two prime-time shows, "Rock Center With Brian Williams" and "NBC Nightly News," without the usual tedious preparation that goes into the making of a network correspondent: Begging for an internship of any kind, paid or unpaid; a starting job with a small-market TV station; covering fires, accidents and sewer-main breaks in the predawn hours and on weekends, usually when it's raining; and finally earning the stripe that every reporter dreads, obtaining from a grieving family a photo of a child who was killed.
Maybe we're being horribly unfair to Clinton, but somehow we don't think these are among her "vast experiences." She's probably never been thrown out of a place by the cops, a venue where she and her mother were visiting during the 2008 campaign, for example.
Given the state of the dwindling journalism market these days, no reporter or editor is going to begrudge someone a job, no matter how they came by it. The prim, reserved Clinton will start out doing feel-good segments, "stories about everyday people doing extraordinary things."
There is still some hope, however, for some malicious fun. The Wednesday-night lead-in to "Rock Center" will be a new show by the bawdy comedian Chelsea Handler, author of the alcohol-fused memoir, "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea," and the self-explanatory "My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands" and "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang," essays that even a friendly review described as "often blatantly vulgar." The cover shows a dog looking up her dress.
Maybe the two Chelseas will become hopelessly confused in the public mind. It could do wonders for Brian Williams' ratings and broaden even Clinton's broad experiences.
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