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Chelsea Clinton’s NBC debut — the reactions

By Paul Williams,

Chelsea Clinton made her broadcast journalism premiere Monday night with a segment on NBC’s “Rock Center With Brian Williams.” In his review, Post televsion critic Hank Stuever wrote:

It’s no surprise whatsoever that Chelsea Clinton didn’t electrify broadcast journalism with her debut Monday night on NBC’s “Rock Center With Brian Williams,” because she has no experience in broadcast journalism. She didn’t cut her teeth with live coverage of strip-mall blazes in Sacramento. She never did weekend weather in Wichita Falls. She didn’t blow the lid off mail-order ham scams in Des Moines. (Who — besides everyone working in TV news who did each and every one of those things — says you have to do all that?)

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.

Post blogger Eric Wemple questioned if Clinton’s segment, about an Arkansas woman who runs an afterschool program, was particularly newsworthy. But he had good things to say about Clinton.

Though the cub reporter could stand to amp it up a touch, she comes across well on camera. She has a good presence and speaks convincingly about her material. There’s no question that she cares about people doing good works.

Wemple followed up with a call today to the afterschool program.

So far, results! According to a volunteer at TOPPS Inc, the Pine Bluff, Ark., afterschool charity that Clinton profiled last night on NBC, it’s been a great day. “We are thrilled and absolutely overwhelmed with joy,” said the volunteer, who declined to provide her name. “We’re overwhelmed with donations,” she continued, noting that a local bank has set up an account to handle the flood.

In considering Chelsea Clinton new role, Post Leadership blogger Jena McGregor asked if it was fair to expect the children of leaders to be leaders themselves.

I’m not sure we should expect the children of famous leaders to become famous leaders any more than we should expect the children of wealthy business people to become entrepreneurs. Living a good life, giving back in some way, and putting their many advantages to some kind of helpful purpose seems good enough.

Related:

VOTE: Was Clinton’s debut delightful or dull?

WATCH: Press-phobic Chelsea Clinton debuts as ‘Rock Center’ correspondent

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