Wednesday 23 October 2019

Chelsea Clinton’s first TV appearance as a reporter gets mixed reviews

Chelsea Clinton appears on Rock Center with Brian Williams in New York. Photo: AP
Chelsea Clinton appears on Rock Center with Brian Williams in New York. Photo: AP

Amy Willis

CHELSEAClinton's debut as a television reporter for NBC, has received mixed reviews in US media, with some saying she was nervous and lacked charisma.

Miss Clinton, 31, stepped into the limelight for the first time in a two-minute pre-recorded interview for NBC about child poverty in Arkansas.

Hank Stuever in the Washington Post said Miss Clinton "didn’t electrify broadcast journalism with her debut" on Monday night.

"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," he wrote.

In the news piece Miss Clinton was seen making Mexican cornbread for children at the Topps Center in Jefferson County as well as interviewing founder Annette Dove about the 500 children and young adults they serve.

Annette Dove told The Daily Telegraph that working with the former first daughter was “outstanding”.

“She was very professional, very prepared. You can tell that she is very smart,” the charity founder said. “I am very proud of her. I think she did an outstanding job. She made our organisation really shine.”

Verne Gay writing for Newsday said there were positives and negatives in Miss Clinton's performance, and that she should not be written off yet.

He wrote that she "seems like a very nice young woman" and that her voice was "pleasing and plummy, but monochromatic".

"Work out the kinks. Master the craft. Learn what it really means to be a reporter. Hopefully, in time, she will," Gay wrote.

Caitlin McDevitt from the news website Politico said that Miss Clinton was poised and well-prepared although "a bit nervous".

Miss Clinton will be working as a special correspondent for the Make a Difference series for the next three months; she is next due to appear on PBS on Wednesday where she will host a live broadcast of The Nutcracker to US troops overseas.

She joins Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of George W Bush, who works for the Today show, Meghan McCain, the daughter of Arizona Senator, and former presidential candidate John McCain who reports for MSNBC.

(Miss Clinton’s move into the public eye is likely to fuel speculation that she could be considering a congressional run next year, continuing her parents’ political dynasty.

As a teenager growing up in the White house, Miss Clinton shunned media attention for most of her younger years but appears to have had a change of heart since her marriage to Marc Mezvinsky last year.

But Miss Clinton attributed the career move to her maternal grandmother Dorothy Rodham saying it was time for her to stop “pretending she was not Chelsea Clinton”.

In what was believed to be her first ever interview with the media last week, she said: "I took what she [her grandmother] said seriously – that I had led an inadvertently public life for a long time and maybe it was time to start leading a purposely public life."

Her grandmother died last month aged 92.

When Hillary Clinton steps down as Secretary of State next year, it will be the first time in several decades that a member of the Clinton household has not played an active role in US politics.

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