WaPo TV Critic Pans Chelsea Clinton's Debut on 'Rock Center'

"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," observed Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever regarding Chelsea Clinton's television journalism debut on last night's Rock Center.

"It's no surprise whatsoever that Chelsea Clinton didn't electrify broadcast journalism with her debut" on last night's Rock Center, but, "what was surprising" was "how someone can be on TV in such a prominent way and, in her big moment, display so very little charisma -- none at all."

Stuever clearly didn't pull his punches in his December 13 review, hitting the former president and his long-suffering consort the Secretary of State, when he noted that Chelsea, "who turns 32 in February is officially past the 'hands off' restrictions firmly negotiated with the media when she was 12 and her father, the president, and her mother, the almighty, insisted that the press not write any stories about her."

"That weird treatment extended well into her adulthood, creating a Gen-Y Greta Garbo in plain sight, a mystery figure entirely undeserving of the intrigue and fascination accorded her." Besides Chelsea's lackluster on-air persona, Stuever groused that her new gig with NBC News was a pathetic exercise in the network seeking to "ennobled the reporter herself, and thereby ennoble the network."

"This is why Clinton says she is doing television -- to make a difference," Stuever concluded, "Who among us will tell her that's not what TV does, not really?"

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.