Not since Greta Garbo has there been a figure so famous whose voice remained a mystery to the American public. Chelsea Clinton, who has enjoyed complete media immunity for 2 decades following her move to the White House at age 12, and who had never granted a television or radio interview, launched her career as a TV talking head last night. At the top: on a NBC Network newsoid program called Rockcenter.
Reviews are decidedly mixed. The Washington Post's Hank Stuever is dleightfully catty:
It's no surprise whatsoever that Chelsea Clinton didn't electrify broadcast journalism with her debut Monday night on NBC's "Rock Center With Brian Williams," because she has no experience in broadcast journalism. She didn't cut her teeth with live coverage of strip-mall blazes in Sacramento. She never did weekend weather in Wichita Falls. She didn't blow the lid off mail-order ham scams in Des Moines. (Who - besides everyone working in TV news who did each and every one of those things - says you have to do all that?)
Rather, what was surprising to see on Monday night's show is how someone can be on TV in such a prominent way and, in her big moment, display so very little charisma - none at all. Either we're spoiled by TV's unlimited population of giant personalities or this woman is one of the most boring people of her era.
Needless to say, the lickspittles at Politico were not about to dump on an anointed heir to the Clinton Machine, and so kept their review to only 204 words. Here's the lead:
The talentless tyro is doing her best, you see, and as soon as she gets a bit of experience and is less nervous, she'll be fine:
The former first daughter appeared poised and well-prepared, though a bit nervous, delivering her report on a woman at the helm of non-profit in Pine Bluff, Ark., during "Rock Center With Brian Williams."
Verne Gay of Newsday tried to strike a consciously balanced approach, listing the good and the bad, and headlining that "time will tell."
Gay's good part is notably thin gruel:
"[she] seems like a very nice young woman. She is obviously bright, although we already suspected she was that as well."
was pleasing and plummy, but monochromatic;
In my mind, Chelsea's debut at the top is superb political theatre, demonstrating the hypocrisy of the Democrat elites, the insiders and their cronies who live as an American Nomenklatura class, with privileges completely unavailable to the rest of us. Their children glide through the upper strata of the media-NGO-government-educational complex just as in the old days of Moscow, top members of the Nomenklatura in their chauffeur-driven Zil limousines used to glide down the traffic-free streets.
At the very moment the occupiers are denouncing the 1%, the public is treated to the spectacle of a well-born insider being foisted upon us as a legitimate occupant of a top tier position in the media. Every media consumer knows how stiff the competition is for such positions; it is a staple of sitcoms and movies. And there she is: monochromatic voice and all. It must also be noted, because it makes a difference, that Miss Clinton has not been blessed with great beauty. I mean no cruelty, but rather must note that physical attractiveness is normally a prerequisite for young women entering the television news industry. Mocking brainless but gorgeous TV newswomen is another staple of sitcoms and films.
There is a limit to how much of this sort of thing the public will take before becoming contemptuous of the perpetrators. When another child of the Nomenklatura, Caroline Kennedy, was foisted upon the New York State electorate, despite a notable lack of qualifications beyond her family tree, she found the experience unpleasant. Miss Clinton faces the same peril.
I hope NBC continues to try to pass her off as a celebrity. It will discredit them even further, and let the public understand the real nature of the deal the left elites are trying to dupe them into supporting.
James G. Wiles adds:
We seem to have started a trend.
Now everyone's being mean to that nice Chelsea Clinton.
Last night, Chelsea debuted on her new gig with NBC's "Rock Center." Somehow, what with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (not to mention Glenn Beck) engaged in a steel cage fight, we missed it.
It will interesting indeed to see how Billary take this. Will they come to her defense? Or will they treat Chelsea - as she is, at age 30 - as her own woman?
Harry Truman, of course, famously did not.
When President Truman's adult daughter made her singing debut with the Washington Opera, the Washington Post critic Paul Hume panned her performance. An angry President - in the midst, be it noted, of the Korean War, a year after the fall of China to the Communists and a world-wide confrontation with the Soviet Union - took time to respond with a handwritten, personal letter on December 6, 1950. The letter has gone down in Presidential history.
"Dear Mr. Hume," began the Leader of the Free World. "I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert...Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens, you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes and perhaps a supporter below!"
The Post promptly published the letter.
Those were the days. Can Bill Clinton top that?
Our guess is he'll skip the letter and just go directly to the beating. After all, President Clinton loves the media.
And he grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas - not all that far from Independence, Missouri.