I've always worked really hard to give Chelsea Clinton -- and to be fair, all the children of Presidents -- a pass. They don't ask for the glare of the largest spotlight in the world, and it can't be easy growing up in a place like the White House.
Furthermore, I remember Chelsea because she is about my sister's age (a year or so younger), and they played in the same softball league together.
I remember seeing her and meeting her once or twice during my time in the Clinton Administration, and she was always very nice, very polite, and pretty gracious for a person so young.
I didn't say a word when she went to the elite Sidwell Friends in D.C. I didn't say a word when she went to Stanford, and later, Oxford. I didn't complain when she got the six-figure job at the massive consulting firm McKinsey. I had a chance to call out Senator Clinton's presidential campaign on using Chelsea as a campaign spokesperson, and then complaining when the media fired questions her way. I didn't (and a lot of folks did, and in hindsight, rightly so). I didn't even say anything (much) when we endured the celebrity-esque wedding to Marc Mezvinsky, the son of two former Members of Congress (in fact, I wished her well).
Look, she's the daughter of a former president -- one for whom I worked, for crying out loud -- and we just need to accept that because we don't have kings and queens and princes and princesses, this is what we get.
With that being said, I'm not so sure this new media gig Chelsea seems to have landed is really appropriate (for the record, I'm not a fan of Bush's daughter doing it, either).
To be clear, I'm not really blaming Chelsea, here (though I do think she could do something else worthwhile and have a larger impact).
This is the product, or result, of a broken media system which seems to be circling the drain with an increasing velocity. What caught my eye today was the Daily Beast/Howard Kurtz breakdown of early morning network programs -- Today, The Early Show, Good Morning, America -- all of which are virtually unwatchable, and the effort to get them to be more "news" oriented as opposed to the lightweight infotainment they offer now.
Duncan and I used to watch the Today show until I couldn't stand it anymore. They never got the mix of hard news and entertainment right (from my perspective, the two shouldn't mix, anyway. I'm sorry, but you can't tell me about the CIA's extraordinary rendition program and then follow it with a Justin Beiber concert on the plaza.).
I appreciate that Chelsea is donating her salary to the Clinton Foundation. I also appreciate that she'll be contributing to the "Making a Difference" series which is a Nightly News feature on NBC, not the unwatchable morning garbage. Still, this is just a little much. How is the presence of Chelsea Clinton going to communicate the difference someone makes? What qualifications does she have to investigate how those differences were made, and why?
Sorry, Chelsea. If it helps, it's not really your fault. This system was broken a long time ago.