Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik made one thing clear during his appearance on Howard Kurtz’s Reliable Sources yesterday: He had rehearsed his line of punditry on Chelsea Clinton. After the show ran a clip or two of Clinton’s debut piece on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” Zurawik brandished his talking point:

Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, in his shameless hype for this journalistically bankrupt decision, said it’s as if Chelsea has been preparing all her life for this thing. Based on the first show we saw, if that’s true, it’s been a largely wasted life. And as mean as that might sound, I don’t take it back, really.

If Zurawik sounded defensive even before anyone had a chance to challenge him, well, there’s a reason for that. He’s supposed to evaluate the new reporter’s work, not her life, even if the network suit opens the door. Though Zurawik considers his comment “mean,” he’s going soft on himself. Childish and misanthropic would be more apt.