NY Times Adds Detail to NBC's Bowing, Fawning TV Deal with Chelsea Clinton

Only in a liberal cocoon of a publication would come the headine, “Chelsea Clinton, Living Up to the Family Name.” But there it was in The New York Times. That writer sounds like someone who never read The Starr Report, or anything else critical of the way the Clintons managed the White House or Little Rock.

Amy Chozick's article has no Chelsea (or Clinton) critics of any kind, of course, and ends with the usual leg-thrill about Chelsea running for office. But the Times has added details about how NBC obsequiously granted Chelsea an audience and signed her on without apparently having any qualms about her pledge to raise money for the Obama re-election campaign. NBC signed her to a "three month trial contract"?

As President Obama’s re-election campaign heats up, Ms. Clinton will most likely need to step back from news gathering to help raise money. An adviser said she would “100 percent” help him with his campaign. Mr. Capus said NBC News would discuss in advance any of Ms. Clinton’s political activity, as it does with all of its contributors. Ms. Clinton has a three-month trial contract with NBC, after which both parties will decide whether to continue.

Apparently, Katie Couric's agent shopped Chelsea to several networks before NBC landed her. Chelsea, we're told, got the speaking bug on the campaign trail and wanted to be a TV news personality, and voila, NBC is fawning all over her as the world's most impressive young woman (a budding Tim Russert):

They described her as someone who, in a matter of weeks, went from speaking to a dozen people at a coffee shop to fielding questions from crowds of thousands. “People were interested in coming to hear and see her because they watched her grow up, and then they’d realize how substantive she was,” said Howard Wolfson, a senior strategist on Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign who now works for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

That experience persuaded Ms. Clinton to take on a larger public role and, in particular, the TV job, said Steve Capus, president of NBC News. “She talked about the stories she heard on the campaign trail that she found inspiring and said she’d like to go back and visit some of the people she’d met,” he said.

In June, Alan Berger, an agent at Creative Artists Agency who represents Katie Couric, arranged for Ms. Clinton to meet with Mr. Capus in a conference room at a Midtown hotel to discuss the “Making a Difference” series. Before that meeting, Ms. Clinton’s team also arranged sessions with other networks.

“She’s a 31-year-old woman who has had a couple career changes and was taking stock in the next phase of her career,” Mr. Capus said.

For weeks, NBC News used a pseudonym on planning schedules so no one would find out Ms. Clinton had joined the team. Brian Williams described his first exceedingly discreet meeting with Ms. Clinton at a quiet table in the back of an Italian restaurant in Midtown as “ ‘The Godfather’ without a gun hidden in the bathroom.”

One morning last week, Ms. Clinton shook hands as she made her way through the halls of NBC News at Rockefeller Center, where she now has a temporary office. “Hi, I’m Chelsea,” she repeated, with flashes of her father’s charm and her mother’s wide smile.

The Times also reports, as a way of touting her political seriousness, Chelsea's a big advocate for gay marriage, which would hardly make you an "objective" reporter, but it doesn't exactly conflict with the ideology of NBC News:

Though Ms. Clinton is undeniably close to her father and seems to share his love of public debate, she has also forged her own way on some crucial issues, particularly same-sex marriage.

In May, Ms. Clinton was at the Manhattan nightclub Lavo to attend a benefit for Friendfactor, a gay rights group. There she greeted Andy Cohen, the Bravo executive behind the “Real Housewives” franchise, and the actress Kristen Bell before hugging Brian Elliot, the founder and executive director of the organization.

“I certainly believe that all of my friends, as Marc and I did, should have the right to marry their best friends,” Ms. Clinton later told the crowd. “I certainly believe that those of us who are straight cannot expect our gay friends to do this on their own.”

Mr. Elliot said he first met Ms. Clinton a year ago when a mutual friend suggested that she become involved in the organization. “She made it clear marriage equality isn’t a political issue,” he said in an interview. “It’s about your friends.”

The Times credited Chelsea with turning Bill around on the New York state gay-marriage bill. Overall, the article offered the sense that all the power in this NBC deal originated with Chelsea, who had her pick of the liberal-media litter:

Her move to television was a career shift she initiated, having her close advisers arrange interviews with top network executives and at one point working with the powerful Creative Artists Agency.

“For a multitude of reasons, she decided the time was right to more publicly own a responsibility she feels to serve in the public good,” said Bari Lurie, a former intern in the East Wing of the White House during the Clinton years, whom Ms. Clinton brought on as her chief of staff in September.

How many other 31-year-old NBC correspondents have hired a "chief of staff"?
 

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