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NBC hires Chelsea Clinton as correspondent

JAMES RAINY
Los Angeles Times
Modified: November 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm •  Published: November 15, 2011
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More than a few other political progeny have delivered the news in some fashion. President Harry Truman's daughter, Margaret, hosted a radio show, "Authors in the News." John F. Kennedy Jr. co-founded the political magazine "George." Vice President Walter Mondale's daughter, Eleanor, worked as a television and radio host. Most recently, NBC's cable outlet, MSNBC, hired Meghan McCain — daughter of John McCain, the U.S. senator and 2008 presidential candidate — to provide political commentary.

True to her long-standing practice, Clinton declined to speak to anyone in the media after NBC's announcement. She strenuously avoided interviews during Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential run, even refusing to speak to a 9-year-old reporter from Scholastic News. The child wanted to know what kind of "First Man" Bill Clinton might be.

"Chelsea Clinton has loathed the news media for most of her life," Don Van Natta, a New York Times reporter, wrote via Twitter. "So it makes sense she has decided to join us and refuse to be interviewed." The journalist co-authored a book about Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Judy Muller, a onetime ABC correspondent who now teaches at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, said it is hard not to see the Clinton hiring as a "gimmick." She said it would be hard to explain to her students that it sometimes takes more than hard work and persistence to make it to national television.

But Muller noted that some born into political families — Chris Cuomo, son and brother of New York governors and an ABC correspondent, and Maria Shriver, a Kennedy clan member and onetime network anchor — had staying power.

"Those people lasted," she said, "because they could do the work."