Why Chelsea Clinton is a Good Media Personality For NBC

What is it about a media personality that makes them "good?" There are undoubtedly a lot of characteristics that determine what makes a person both photogenic and TV-friendly. However, it's not every day that a conservative, Austrian Economist would find a liberal TV personality appealing, and further, defend that person from the attack dogs in the liberal media.

Economist Gary North says that he's rooting for Chelsea Clinton, and here's why:

I saw Chelsea Clinton on a segment of the NBC News program, Rock Center. She is quite good. So was the segment. It dealt with a national restaurant chain that is going to extra trouble and expense to give away food that is left over after the restaurant closes. The food feeds tens of thousands of hungry children. It is a great example of free market profitability combined with voluntary charity.

She is barely getting started in broadcast journalism. She was beaten to a pulp by print media pundits last December, after her first segment. They said she was bland, or worse. This Washington Post reviewer was condescending. 

Rather, 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.

Which is well within her rights to be.

The other reviewers were equally hostile.

Too many members of the mainstream media are afflicted by envy. These upper-middle-class pundits are resentful against those who have head starts in life. They think it's not fair. They want to pull down those who have such advantages. This is clear in their assessment of Chelsea Clinton's two performances.

If they are willing to turn on her, they will turn on anyone. They are burdened by resentment, and it shows.

I did not see the December segment. I cannot find it online. So, I judge her performance by what I saw on last week's segment. She was good. The story was good. I want you to watch it. But first, I need to give an overview of what constitutes a very good performance in a journalistic setting.

First, the person must be alert, but not visibly on edge. Any sign of underlying stress is a bad sign. The person must not be seen as being barely in control of his nervousness. He must also not be perceived as hyper. The presentation should be calm, but not boring. The person must be visibly and verbally comfortable. She displayed this in the final segment, when Brian Williams interviewed her. Let me tell you, this is not easy.

Second, the person must not stumble verbally. There must be no sense of not having the right words to say. Above all, there must be no "uhs."

Brian Williams does not possess this skill. He stumbles all the time. It's not annoying. He is human. He is lively enough to get away with it. In his interview of Chelsea, he stumbled. She was visibly calm and in complete control. This is not easy.

Third, the person must be consistent with whatever persona the news show wants. Mike Wallace was aggressive for 60 years. CBS did not use him for human interest stories. In contrast, the human interest TV journalist must be pleasant, yet not a pushover. He must ask decent questions, and then let the person being interviewed tell his story. He must not make the person nervous. If he is nervous, he cannot tell his story well.

A good example is the difference between Sunday Morning's Martha Teichner and Rita Braver. Teichner is the gravitas lady most of the time. She looks at the Big Picture. Braver is the bubbly lady who gets to speak with celebrities, and who asks the kinds of questions we might ask, if we knew enough about the person. Hers are not "softball" questions. They are "tell us more about yourself" questions.

NBC has hired Chelsea Clinton to ask "What is this all about, from your point of view?" questions. She does this exactly right. She does not make the person nervous. Who wouldn't want to be interviewed by the young woman we all saw growing up? He wants to make her performance look good. As a result, he looks good. It's a win-win deal.

That's what NBC is paying for. She delivers.

I did interviews for over 20 years on tape. I was good at it. I know what it takes to get people to talk. Chelsea Clinton has what it takes.

One critic said this

The learning curve for Chelsea Clinton, special correspondent, continues to bend in the wrong direction.

If her learning curve is going in the wrong direction, she must have been spectacular in December. But by all accounts, she wasn't.

Read the rest of the article on www.GaryNorth.com