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Why I’m Rooting for Chelsea Clinton

Written by Gary North on April 30, 2012

I saw Chelsea Clinton on a segment of the NBC News program, Rock Center. She is quite good. So was the segment. It dealt with a national restaurant chain that is going to extra trouble and expense to give away food that is left over after the restaurant closes. The food feeds tens of thousands of hungry children. It is a great example of free market profitability combined with voluntary charity.

She is barely getting started in broadcast journalism. She was beaten to a pulp by print media pundits last December, after her first segment. They said she was bland, or worse. This Washington Post reviewer was condescending.

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.

Which is well within her rights to be.

The other reviewers were equally hostile.

Too many members of the mainstream media are afflicted by envy. These upper-middle-class pundits are resentful against those who have head starts in life. They think it’s not fair. They want to pull down those who have such advantages. This is clear in their assessment of Chelsea Clinton’s two performances.

If they are willing to turn on her, they will turn on anyone. They are burdened by resentment, and it shows.

I did not see the December segment. I cannot find it online. So, I judge her performance by what I saw on last week’s segment. She was good. The story was good. I want you to watch it. But first, I need to give an overview of what constitutes a very good performance in a journalistic setting.

First, the person must be alert, but not visibly on edge. Any sign of underlying stress is a bad sign. The person must not be seen as being barely in control of his nervousness. He must also not be perceived as hyper. The presentation should be calm, but not boring. The person must be visibly and verbally comfortable. She displayed this in the final segment, when Brian Williams interviewed her. Let me tell you, this is not easy.

Second, the person must not stumble verbally. There must be no sense of not having the right words to say. Above all, there must be no “uhs.”

Brian Williams does not possess this skill. He stumbles all the time. It’s not annoying. He is human. He is lively enough to get away with it. In his interview of Chelsea, he stumbled. She was visibly calm and in complete control. This is not easy.

Third, the person must be consistent with whatever persona the news show wants. Mike Wallace was aggressive for 60 years. CBS did not use him for human interest stories. In contrast, the human interest TV journalist must be pleasant, yet not a pushover. He must ask decent questions, and then let the person being interviewed tell his story. He must not make the person nervous. If he is nervous, he cannot tell his story well.

A good example is the difference between Sunday Morning‘s Martha Teichner and Rita Braver. Teichner is the gravitas lady most of the time. She looks at the Big Picture. Braver is the bubbly lady who gets to speak with celebrities, and who asks the kinds of questions we might ask, if we knew enough about the person. Hers are not “softball” questions. They are “tell us more about yourself” questions.

NBC has hired Chelsea Clinton to ask “What is this all about, from your point of view?” questions. She does this exactly right. She does not make the person nervous. Who wouldn’t want to be interviewed by the young woman we all saw growing up? He wants to make her performance look good. As a result, he looks good. It’s a win-win deal.

That’s what NBC is paying for. She delivers.

I did interviews for over 20 years on tape. I was good at it. I know what it takes to get people to talk. Chelsea Clinton has what it takes.

One critic said this.

The learning curve for Chelsea Clinton, special correspondent, continues to bend in the wrong direction.

If her learning curve is going in the wrong direction, she must have been spectacular in December. But by all accounts, she wasn’t.

Clinton’s Wednesday night report on chain restaurants that donate leftover food to charity was slightly better than her previous efforts. But only because the producers used every trick in the book to give us less Chelsea and more of anything they could find to distract us from her. Less was marginally more.

I saw a confident, well-spoken 31-year old woman who handles herself well in front of a camera. But this critic did not see what I saw. He attributes whatever success she had to producers. That’s what producers are paid to do. This critic needs an editor who does what producers do: make him look good. He does not have one.

They used her in voiceover a lot so that she didn’t actually have to be on camera and talking at the same time as much. (Yes, it is like walking and chewing gum for most correspondents, but it seems to be too much for her.)

This was a cheap shot, and one not supported by the facts. Her performance in the post-segment interview was no voiceover. She handled herself well.

This guy is a bully. More than this: he is a bully who misleads his readers. This is unconscionable.

I am both a print media professional and a public speaking professional. I have been both for over four decades. When I saw her interviewed by Williams, I saw nothing except professional excellence. She never made a mistake. Try this sometime. It is not easy.

The poor schnook who criticized her cannot match her in this regard. Read this:

I say it’s time for someone to show some mercy, if not simple good sense, and end this sorry specatcle of nepotism — especially at this time when so many young adults who have prepared for careers with their college majors and internships can’t even get entry level jobs in an economy her dad helped create.

The Baltimore Sun needs a proofreader — so that our critic does not again make a specatcle of himself.

This print media professional does not know what the word “nepotism” means. It does not mean “hiring the relative of a celebrity.” It means “hiring a relative.” Wikipedia defines it as follows:

Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit. The word nepotism is from the Latin word nepos, nepotis (m. “nephew”), from which modern Romanian nepot and Italian nipote, “nephew” or “grandchild” are also descended.”

Here is a man who makes his living as a writer, and who cannot use the English language properly. In contrast, she is working on a Ph,D. at Oxford University.

The guy works for the Baltimore Sun. So did H. L. Mencken, who wrote The American Language. To paraphrase our critic, “The learning curve for the Baltimore Sun continues to bend in the wrong direction.”

You be the judge.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Chelsea Clinton is a talking head who can talk. I hope she keeps being assigned human interest stories like this one.

I also hope she gets her Ph.D. It’s an achievement that her critics never achieved. Maybe it will shut them up. But probably not. What will shut them up is if NBC will keep using her, and the producers can find stories suitable for her skills. The critics will finally go on to other fish to fry, other celebrities to roast.

To Chelsea, I say: stick to your knitting. The viewers will decide, not the no-name pundits.

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37 thoughts on “Why I’m Rooting for Chelsea Clinton

  1. I watched the interview the other day after reading the same critic's remarks elsewhere. I agree with you, she did a fine job. I was trained to be a broadcaster in the Army. I hated every second of it, made me unbelievably nervous. It really isn't an easy thing to do, especially to do as well as she does it. She looks like she is a natural at it, which probably does, in part, come from growing up in the public eye. I do not envy her that either, rather she than I. She appears to be headed for a successful career, more power to her. I happen to be one who likes to see young people grow up and be successful. Helps the country as a whole that talent not go to waste. Good luck, young woman.

  2. The real sad part of this program is that the cost of this is passed on to the customers, by raising the price on all menu items. We are totally becoming the beggar population that was forecast in years past by those who saw this coming. Remember the stories you have heard about NOT feeding the birds because they lose their foraging skills. We are encouraging this oucome for our citizens as well as illegal aliens. Every time I see one of these feel-good stories, I look for someone who looks underfed; so far I've never seen one. This program needs to be tweaked so that the reciprients may grow into people who contribute to our system. At present they're being taught to be drones.

  3. You're right. There are two problems here. The first one you mentioned about taking away a person's ability or desire to take care of themselves (I've also noticed that the "poor" are well fed too) The second point is if I were the owner of the restaurant chain I would be looking into the reasons WHY there is so much food left over that it can provide that many meals on a regular basis. Looks like they need to start paying more attention to what, and how much is selling and be more accurate. There are stockholders involved that might be interested to see how profit is being piddled away.

  4. Junk Bin says:

    are we ever to be rid of the Clintons???

  5. You can’t pick your parents Junk Bin. Will we ever be rid of people like you?

  6. What is wrong with the libertarian and moral attribute of unforced charity? Not only do the media-tards have resentment, but so do those who comment here.
    Don't dictate to business owners what to do with their leftover food, or how to run their business. If you don't like it, go somewhere else. Will you go to a restaurant that gave the bare proportion of food and maybe more of the portions you didn't want, in exchange for a paltry reduction of price?
    Yes, we all know her background. Yes, we all know she may certainly have the same political attributes as her parents. Not so good. But please, give the benefit of the doubt for a just a second. Reward where it is due and denounce when appropriate. This is not appropriate.
    We will be rid of the Clintons when we are rid of the Bushies and all the other corruptoids.
    Leave those who want to give, WILLINGLY, to do what they want or need to do.
    The dumpster food divers will not be happy, but so many others will appreciate food that has not already been infested with maggots.
    Save your vitriol to those who deserve it… the corrupt officialdumb created poverty and those that vote for such cretins… which includes Chelsea's parents!

  7. Thank you, Dr. North, for speaking the truth even if it might annoy some people.

    I did not like Bill Clinton nor do I like his wife. His daugther is an adult and a person in her own right. If she continues her parent's political agenda that is a separate issue from her skills as a commentator or journalist.

  8. Sharon Jeanguenat says:

    I agree with this article. I am tired of the liberal media forcing their OPINIONS on the public. If we're watching a boring person on t.v. we have enough sense to change the channel. I'm not fond of either Bill or Hillary, but I sure do like them a whole lot better than Obama!

  9. Sharon Jeanguenat says:

    You are totally off the mark. The meals were being given to CHILDREN, not adults. And, cheap food, such as potatoes & macaroni, make people fat. But, being fat, does not mean well fed. If the government would make grocers come down on the price of the good for you food, more people would be less obese, When you have 3 or 4 children, you tend to buy what will fill them up, & be enough for all of them. And, most people who get help these days, are not drones. I get food stamps because I am a single retiree, who gets $830 a month, & have no insurance, (Medicare is 3 yrs away), plus have a trailer payment, utilities, etc. I have worked since I was 16, & paid taxes all that time, so I feel that I have earned the right to a little help here & there.

  10. Sharon Jeanguenat says:

    In other words, you wan the handouts stopped. Some day you may be in the position of needing a handout. Also, read my other response. Both of you need to get in the real world.

  11. Personally, Ron Paul is my favorite orator. Obviously, delivery is not everything.

    Seriously, I thought Chelsea did pretty well.

  12. Mighty Bulldog says:

    I am a conservative who wasn't real fond of the Clintons, But agree that they were a whole lot better then Obama. They actually cared about everyone in America, but I didn't like their government forced social engineering and "law breakers VS Jihad" approach to America's enemies. However, based on this clip, Chelsea did a fine and professional job.

  13. frank1737 says:

    I totally agree with gena, Chelsea Clinton showed an outstanding performance on her interview with the Nation Resturant's chain's CEO and the demonstration of "How the Childern Enjoed Their Meal'!! I believe that the vast
    majority of the Other Resturant Chains should deffinitely take an example of this Great Charity, especially with the current economy b eing what it is!
    Brian Nelson really has a crush on himself, since no one else does and must have an inferior complex because of his poor peformances!!

  14. I thought she did a good job. The story is what counts, Not who does it or how it is done! Katie Curic is no fireball , but no one puts her down!.
    Also, All of this started to be more prominent after obumer took office! Does that tell you anything?

  15. NoMoreTaxes says:

    We are leaving out the ELDERLY! As far as kids on welfare and food stamps (received by their parents(s), they are starving cause their parents 'chose not to feed them'. I know too many children like this. Their parents are spending on drinking and drugs, not the food for their children. I would rather focus on THAT Problem then this one in the article. Go after these Parents! You can find them through THESE Children! The U.S. feed these children very well with food stamps, welfare, etc. I know too many people in the program and none of them are starving, no where near it!

  16. I have never been a fan of billy the perv prez or hitlery, But I did not see anything wrong about her reporting skills. These hacks that are attacking her are the perfect examples of media liberals who have no integrity or character.

  17. CesarCris says:

    I agree with Echo. I am not a bleeding heart liberal and I do not like encouraging people to depend on handouts. But, I make an exception: FOOD – If those people swallowed their dignity just to be able to eat, that should be off limits to criticism. Feeding the hungry should be one exception and I would probably hesitate to call the cops on a hungry food thief who is out of options in obtaining his food.

  18. Gkloria Wedemeyer says:

    I also watched this segment and thought she did a great job. I would rather listen to her rather than her over-bearing mother and lying father. She has class, which neither one of them do but I have to give them credit, they raised a fine daughter.

  19. Donna Tee says:

    I work in a homeless shelter. The problem here isn't with Chelsea Clinton or her parents, the problem is people are hungry. At one time our shelter got pizza from Little Caeser's Pizza. But the upper management forced the local people to quit; so the food goes to the dumpster. Oh how much we could use food from any restaurant with more and more people unhoused, on the street, in campgrounds. I congratulate Darden.

  20. I couldn't agree with you more. I think the drive by media is jealous. Chelsea did a great job. She actually listened, reported the facts and and didn't add any b.s. I wish her all the luck in the world, and I'm a conservative.

  21. I'm with you… the critic sounds like he'd have prefered to see Kim Kardashian or Angelina Jolie doing an interview…. celebrities should be crass and classless shouldn't they?

  22. Seriously? I don't mind you rooting for anybody you please, but those were clean, solid hits. If you're being extorted, I'm sorry. If you're being compensated, get a client who can produce something that resembles the hype.

  23. madmemere1 says:

    A lot of restaurants, in our area and, at least one of our supermarket chains, make a point of sending left over foods to the local food pantry, or the rescue mission and I applaud them for doing so. NO ONE in the USA should ever be hungry – -we are NOT a third-world nation YET!

  24. William F Fiegel says:

    She is very good did a good job

  25. Her comportment was impeccable.Her speech likewise. Her manner pleasant. What's to criticize? I found her both informative,dignified and down to earth. It seems to me she brings a breath of fresh air in this regard. I really don't understand the hostility conveyed towards her. It used to be said that money was the root of all evil and in some circles still is. I myself wonder if to covet would not have been far more appropriate.

  26. Gary, I never thought I would see you say anything good about a Clinton, but even though I have never liked Bill, I like Hillary, gun grabber even less. She is more of a collectivist than Bill. If Chelsea doesn't act like either of her parents, I would not have a problem with her. Journalism is a worthy profession. A friend's daughter has worked in tv production, since she graduated from college. She worked in Charlotte, in NYC, for John Gibson, as Executive Producer, and in New Haven, CT, and recently moved back to MO. My all time favorite speaker was Otto Scott that I first met in St, Louis, and then at the Sound Money Conference, in San Jose, Costa Rica, Dec. 1990, when you were one of the speakers.

  27. I just hope she does not turn out like her mother. I know, however, her parents must be proud of her and rightly so, as all parents should be. I cannot comment on the show because I never saw it, nor do I intend to see it at any time, as of now.

  28. If I may, 'Love of Money' is the Root … , and 'Coveting' the motivation for the 'Love …'. Right On, Lyn.

  29. We are so 'trained' to look for the Personality of the Interviewer, Chelsea fell short, but her technique was perfect for what we all should be seeing in all Interviewers, 'The Seeker,' allowing those being interviewed to be the Star, in a way that allows them to be comfortable telling their story. Chelsea did that, IMHO. No one chooses their Parents, and we need accept, or reject a person based on what they offer our needs, through their 'choices.'

    Chelsea, keep making the Interviewee the 'Star,' and you will go 'Far.'

  30. To those who criticize her I say "When they criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something aout their own need to be critical." Richard Carlson, author of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff". I didn't see the video, but I wish her all the best.

  31. Dennis says:

    Right on “Junk Bin” …..
    She wouldn’t have the job , if Her Daddy was not Bill Clinton!
    No matter how good she is …..She didn’t have to work Her way up through the Ranks.

  32. You journalistic idiots !!! We're talking about the Clintons and nothing in any part of their lives isn't scripted, planned, and promoted for their own ultimate goal which, in this case is to pump-up their cute little minion as a do-godder, bleeding heart, protector of the poor but not quite a nun until the little brat can tell the world how horrible capitalism really is and why it's necessary to force the richest to pay their FAIR SHARE, except daddy who flies around the world in the jets of the wealthy while doing deals that make the poor, poorer.

    Get a grip on reality, Journos, it's Hillary with tight skin.

  33. LiveFreeOrDie says:

    Finally a comment that makes sense. WHY are you posting this ARTICLE? The CLINTON family are not ever to be praised.
    Last time I read your stuff, Gary. BYE!!!

  34. This is a glaring example of how free enterprise businesses (not government agencies) are effectively serving a real need. Ironically, a need that was, at least partially, created by government policies.

  35. Blair Franconia, NH says:

    Chelsea Clinton's a great person.

  36. No. When we finally are free of Billary Clinton, Chelsae will be cranking out babies. They may or may not be named "Clinton", but they'll be with us, like those damm Kennedy's. Jeez, talk about a case FOR planned parenthood.

  37. ZOOMER165 says: