Here in the good old USA, we like to think that most people get promoted, whether in business, government, academia, or the media, based upon a tried-and-true concept collectively categorized in bourgeois circles as genuine qualifications for the job—all those boring banalities of professional performance known as hard work, dedication, and a proven track record of success in a specific field of endeavor.
Which brings us to NBC’s selection of Chelsea Clinton to ascend to the regal rank of journalist extraordinaire within the network’s newsroom. More than a few disapproving eyebrows were raised among the media mavens when NBC recently announced that Ms. Clinton Mezvinsky would join the network as a contributing correspondent working for NBC Nightly News and other network news/entertainment programs. Across the political panorama, pundits from the Left and the Right kicked up some damning dust over the choice of Mr and Mrs. Clinton’s daughter to deck the halls of a national newsroom.
Meritocracy, Thy Name is Chelsea
In another win for the famously blind meritocracy that rules American life, rewarding the ultra-talented and pushing the less brilliant and skilled into the outer darkness, Chelsea Clinton has landed a coveted position at NBC News. This was almost as much a surprise as her admission to Stanford; one can only marvel at the sheer guts and talent that have enabled her to overcome our society’s fixed aversion to giving a chance to the relatives of the rich and the prominent.
It might be argued that it is unfair to expect a wealthy, smart, and well-connected young person to sacrifice natural ambition for the common good. But surely the poor and obscurely born also have to eat their share of the world’s injustice. Maybe the rich and famous could also have a small taste?
This is not a point that will often be made in our celebrity crazed, wealth obsessed culture. It should be, and it is a sign of the deep trouble we are in that it isn’t common wisdom. Walter Russell Mead, American Interest