As the child of two very public figures, Chelsea Clinton has enjoyed a certain amount of respect from the political media but now she’s acting as a surrogate for her mother’s campaign. That changes things, as Professor Jacobson noted in a recent post.
A new column from Jack Shafer of Politico echoes that sentiment:
Time for Chelsea Clinton’s Easy Ride to End
When precisely did Chelsea Clinton complete her transition from a White House kid whom journalists agreed to treat as off-limits to a public figure deserving of the full scrutiny of the press corps?
The unsettling answer to the question appears to be, “Not yet.” The soon-to-be 36-year-old occupies the status of an American princess—Diana on the Potomac, if you will. The press covers her, of course, attempting to ask her substantive questions, but mostly she exists to grace the covers of magazines—Fast Company and Elle most recently—and be treated to lighter-than-air puff pieces.
Few object to the cone of deference the press places over the actual children who reside in the White House, or their parents’ attempts to construct a privacy zone around them. Even after White House kids are no longer minors and move on to college, as Chelsea did in 1997, most reporters and editors resist covering them as news in themselves. Unless a White House kid breaks the law, takes measures to make their private profile public, or otherwise becomes “newsworthy” (is injured in an accident, is stalked, etc.), the press basically turns a blind eye.
But at some point—early adulthood—the general immunity from critical coverage needs to end.
While campaigning for her mother in Minnesota this week, Chelsea committed the ultimate Freudian slip by referring to Hillary’s opponent as “President Sanders.”
Twitchy has collected some unpleasant reactions to the Politico piece:
i thought it ended when she was accused by pundit of being "pimped out" in 2008. https://t.co/3vFJYVBT4G
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) February 5, 2016
THIS. IS. DESPICABLE. https://t.co/9RYuOuGZTD
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) February 5, 2016
STFU. Seriously. STFU. https://t.co/yzo8xB0DN8
— Seth Bringman (@sethbringman) February 5, 2016
I wonder if these folks would feel the same way if her last name was Palin?
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