Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton is a proponent of marriage equality. She was featured in an advertisement in favor of legalizing same sex marriage in Washington State, but NBC News, where she works as a correspondent, blocked the ad, Buzzfeed reported.
The move was likely an attempt by NBC to maintain some appearance of neutrality, and distance from their liberal counterpart, MSNBC. But if that’s the case, why did they hire a member of the most prominent family of Democrats since the Kennedys?
NBC seems to want to have it both ways: the celebrity correspondent who people will tune in to see because of her political connections, and a news team that’s considered objective. They were trying to maintain credibility, which is admirable, except that in this case, when the correspondent whose objectivity they were trying to preserve clearly never existed, they ended up doing the opposite.
It would be one thing if Chelsea Clinton was disconnected from her parents’ legacy, but she was very active in support of marriage equality, and regularly tweets positive things about her mother’s work. She is clearly not an objective journalist, removed from the political world she covers. And that’s OK, as long as NBC acknowledges it as a fact. Pretending that the progeny of Bill and Hillary is at a remove from politics makes NBC look either dishonest, completely out of touch, or both.
Objectivity is no longer the gold standard for journalism, with more and more coverage coming from online commentators and sites like PolicyMic, where the news is delivered with a clear opinion. With journalists engaging in political debate on Twitter and online news diminishing the need for major organizations to provide breaking news, opinion is making up ever-larger swaths of the media.
If readers/viewers know this going into it, they can account for the bias of their reporters, seek out differing opinions, and make educated judgments for themselves. Allowing analysis into news can make for livelier debates and a more educated public. And for more trustworthy reporters if you consider the fact that complete objectivity is a human impossibility and therefore a farce when it’s feigned.
But only if it’s packaged as what it is. NBC would do better to embrace the clout of their political royalty correspondent, let Chelsea be who she is, opinions and all, and cash in on the resulting debate and publicity.