The verdict is in and it’s not kind. After the nepotistic controversy surrounding her hiring, the glitzy profiles in the NYT, and the dramatic rollout of her first segment, audiences were expecting more that what they got from Chelsea Clinton.
‘Clinton… seems like a very nice young woman. She is obviously bright, although we already suspected she was that as well. Otherwise, there was nothing else that necessarily dismissed charges (mostly by TV critics, although they were not alone) that she got this job because of that name’
(Verne Gay, Newsday)
‘The former first daughter appeared poised and well-prepared, though a bit nervous’
(Caitlin McDevitt, Politico)
‘Chelsea doesn’t “pop” off the screen, to use an industry term – her demeanour is reserved, she doesn’t project her voice like a broadcaster. Not that most viewers probably cared’
(Howard Kurtz, Daily Beast)
‘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’
(Hank Stuever, Washington Post)
Hank Stuever, writing for the Washington Post, said she displayed ‘so very little charisma – none at all.’
He wrote: ‘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.’
The way that Brian Williams presents her is disconcerting, like the doting uncle talking about a girl of 12 instead of a grown woman who’s past 30 years of age. Her delivery sounds more fit for an obscure web series than broadcast television; she mumbles and low talks through her questions and response. This, coupled with her name and the general knowledge of how she got her job, strikes a discordance against the sort of story she’s reporting. A tale of elite privilege sharing the story of poverty.
Will the story get attention because of her name? Yes. For her name, not for the quality of reporting. Is that the new standard defining good journalism?