Interesting back and forth about Jenna’s “Today” show gig in a WaPo chat::
Florida Chick: Dreadful pandering, this hiring of Jenna Bush for the Today show. It wasn’t enough that she was green-lighted for two books? With two years teaching experience and an unimpressive academic record? She would be lucky to get the teaching job on the merits she earned. Same greased skid as the dad had. I am boycotting the Today show. This is almost as bad as the Luke Russert hire, which was all-time bottom for “if you’re famous you’re in.” I am disgusted. boycott.
Roxanne Roberts: To elaborate: Think like a TV producer. Who’s going to get viewers: An education expert with years of experience who no one has ever heard of? Or Jenna?
Jenna, of course. The topics covered in a five-minute segment should be well within her talents (plus she’ll have producers helping to make her look good.) She can be quite charming when she chooses, and will appeal to the morning television set. This isn’t C-Span, people.
I’m with Florida Chick: Jenna Bush’s new job is especially galling at a time when thousands of journalists with real training and experience have lost their jobs. “Within her talents?” I didn’t realize being born to privilege was considered a talent these days.
Amy Argetsinger: Well, let’s break it down here. If you were outraged when Summer Sanders and Tiki Barber and Giada de Laurentiis got “special correspondent” gigs on “Today” without prior journalism experience, then go ahead and be outraged here. It’s possible you haven’t seen “Today” lately; we’re not talking about NBC News so much as we’re talking about the show that gives over an entire hour to Kathy Lee Gifford. This is in the realm of celebrity spokesmodel stuff.
I’d probably be more worked up about this if this were a full-time actual journalism job — it’s just a once-a-month personality-driven thing. And even if it were… you know, this is how the world works. The Kennedys and Cuomos and Shrivers and Buckleys and Russerts all sent kids into real journalism jobs where they basically started right at the top, without having to labor in the trenches and small markets. It happens all the time.
I mostly agree with the question-answerers. There’s nothing at all unusual about “Today” hiring Jenna and it’s less egregious than Chris Wallace, Cokie Roberts, and Luke Russert, who purport to be something other than spokesmodels.
But this will strike many as more blatant. With so many things, the Bush family has been the reductio ad absurdum of modern American medio-politics. There are times when I think they almost deserve our thanks for this.
Update. I almost added Andrea Koppel to this list, but it sounds like she’s somewhat qualified and worked her way up at least a little bit. I was disturbed to learn she is married to Ken Pollack, though.