Chelsea Clinton Can’t Get No Respect

by d

I caught this snippet of MSNBC’s Countdown (sans Keith Olbermann, sadly) last night, and something about it struck me as… odd.

Sadly, WordPress won’t embed it, so you need to follow this link to watch it.

Symphony music. “A royal wedding.” “Versailles-style mansion.” (And what is Andrea Mitchell doing wearing a fluffy pink scarf?)

“Chelsea, the Clintons’ only child, has come a long way from the teenager who grew up in the White House. Today, she has an elegant poise and style, and an impressive career as a hedge fund manager to match. A bride who knows who she is, and what she wants on her big day.”

Hmmm. “Come a long way,” huh? Oh, right. That’s code for, She used to be ‘unfortunate looking’ but she got the curls straightened and some blond highlights put in so now she’s pretty!

via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

via Flickr user philgarlic

Admittedly, that is quite a transformation. But come on, guys, you don’t have to be so blatant. Or, maybe you do.

In 1998, John McCain made a joke. The AP reported it, but few major newspapers divulged the joke itself, saying only what happened surrounding it. Salon chose to include it, with a hearty scolding for other media entities.

“Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno.”

Wow, John. That’s. That’s just wow. Good job. Real shame about losing the presidency, we could do with an upstanding misogynist like you at the helm. More examples of McCain’s humor can be found here. (Look, it’s Rachel as a guest!)

via iVillage, Jason Kempin/WireImage

The MSNBC report is acknowledging that, hey, Chelsea was no looker once upon a time. But now she could be a movie star, you guys! Like, totally! And her wedding is gonna be the bomb. Sorry, what’s that? This isn’t the ’90s? Sorry, I thought we were going retro, what with the insensitivity and references our younger readers won’t understand. (If you don’t know what Janet Reno looks like, Will Ferrell didn’t need much in the way of makeup or a wig to impersonate her on SNL. …WOW, that clip is way funnier now than it was back then. Blitzer, Amanphour and Helen Thomas!)

Chelsea Clinton was was only a year or so older than Malia Obama at the time her father was inaugurated. Chelsea is a good few years older than me, but it still felt cool to know there was a first daughter in residence.

But Chelsea has always been a very private individual. She has conducted her life with a minimum of publicity, and it’s clear she wants her wedding to be that way as well. Weddings have a habit of getting out of hand, though, so I’m sure plenty will get out to tantalize the media. I find it interesting that her wedding is being described as ‘royal,’ while Jenna Bush’s wedding, performed in 2007 while her father was still a sitting president, did not get similar accolades.

What about Chelsea and the Clintons makes this such a big to-do? Yeah, I know, I love Bill and Hillary Clinton. I’m sure people have been waiting for this wedding for a very long time. But, crimity, who is this report appealing to?

I expect better of MSNBC than, “Ugly duckling first daughter now a pretty, pretty princess!”

5 Comments to “Chelsea Clinton Can’t Get No Respect”

  1. I don’t think she was ugly is the first picture! I love her hair in that one. Who decides what is beautiful?

  2. Jenna Bush didn’t get the same accolades for her wedding because she got a lot of bad publicity as a “wild child” while her dad was in office. Whether or not that should make a difference is debatable, but I’m quite sure that’s what was behind it. :p

    And, I agree. I expect better from MSNBC than a critique on how Chelsea Clinton looks then and now. Who really cares? Everyone has an awkward stage, its a normal part of growing up. And, I actually don’t think she looks bad in that first picture. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This sounds more like something that Faux News would do. Covering the news that Chelsea Clinton is getting married in an almost grudging sort of way and really only leaving the viewer coming out of it with a sense that the whole thing was just a critique of her looks and a jab at how she used to not look so great according to America in general back then. This was definitely something meant for the crowd that knew the inside jokes. I really hope that MSNBC doesn’t turn into a Democratic version of Faux News. We don’t need fake journalism on either side of the fence.

    • This piece was nowhere near as blatant as the stuff on Fox, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. Keith is on vacation this week, though, and I like to think he would have demanded more of the correspondent.

      You may be right, it could be Jenna’s past that held them off. She did some ridiculously dumb things (trying to pass off a fake ID with security agents around her) but she’s gone on to be a respectable adult. It’s sad that they may be holding that against her.

      Then again, it could just be long-running affection for the Clintons in general. Ten years is quite enough time for the heart to grow fonder!

  3. Well, MSNBC has got to get its ratings up somehow.

    There’s no doubt she’s a graceful young woman, but she’s a pretty non-polarizing and seemingly normal technocrat, and details of celebrity weddings make me yawn.

    Not sure what MSNBC was getting at that comment on Chelsea Clinton, but they have a history of saying weird things about her.

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