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Susan Reimer: Chelsea Clinton, latest child of famous parents to play journalist


August 24. 2013 11:48AM
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Whatever happened to paying your dues? Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps? Rags to riches?Those quintessential elements of the American dream have been replaced by a “child of” meritocracy in which your birth certificate means more than your résumé.Chelsea Clinton has been added to NBC’s stable of reporters, and the sound you hear is that of thousands of unemployed journalists weeping over their Starbucks applications.She is the latest in a growing list of children famous because their parents are famous becoming high-profile broadcasters. They include Jenna Bush Hager (NBC), Luke Russert (NBC), Meghan McCain (MSNBC), Ron Reagan (MSNBC), Chris Wallace (Fox), Ayla Brown, daughter of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, (CBS), Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC) and even Maria Shriver (NBC), who has accomplished much but probably got her start because of her Kennedy relatives.In addition, Kathie Lee Gifford’s son, Cody, who made his television debut in utero on “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee,” got an internship at CBS and reviewed movies on the “Today” show.And don’t forget Jonah Goldberg, whose mother Lucianne was the literary agent to Linda Tripp and instrumental in breaking the Monica Lewinsky story. He launched his media career when he wrote about the siege of reporters outside his mother’s apartment for New Yorker magazine, which is its own form of upside-down nepotism.We are left to wonder what Amy Carter is doing for a living.Apparently, any child of privilege or politics can go into journalism — as opposed to, say, brain surgery — and that is making us ink-stained wretches who have toiled in the fields of the Fourth Estate feeling a little insulted.And we thought the bloggers were bad for business.But it is the hiring of Chelsea that really burns us.Her parents protected her from the media like a pair of gargoyles from the time they entered the White House when she was a middle-schooler. And she hasn’t had anything to say to us since.The only time she came into the sunshine was during her Kardashian-style wedding in the summer of 2010, and then she only gave up a couple of pictures to People magazine. (I wonder if People paid Chelsea for them. I wonder if it was more than People paid Kim.)We wouldn’t know what her voice sounds like if she hadn’t taken to the stump for her mother’s presidential campaign — but no interviews were permitted.She has stonewalled us so completely that when she opened a Facebook page, everybody guessed she was planning a run for Congress.Little did we know that she was about to take a high-profile, high-prestige, high-paid spot while tens of thousands of unemployed journalists are hoping to get a job writing press releases for the local senior center.And — get this — her first act was to release a statement through a spokesman, who said that she wouldn’t be available for interviews!A spokesman? Really? Chelsea, honey, real journalists don’t have spokesmen. Those are the people we work around to get to the people we really want to talk to.You have to sit by the phone for years, waiting for someone to return your phone call with a comment, before you understand how arrogant it was for her not to talk to the press after taking a job that should have gone to one of us.Don’t expect anybody to save you a seat on the back of the campaign bus, girlfriend, or to buy you a beer after the returns are in.If these children of the famous are looking for something to do, they should follow Bristol Palin’s lead and go on “Dancing with the Stars.”And leave journalism to the journalists.Contact Susan Reimer at susan.reimer@baltsun.com.





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