Lauer to former NBC colleague: Did you write your own speech for tonight?

Perhaps Matt Lauer thought this question would work as a sauce-for-the-goose effort, but … that’s not how it came across. What were NBC News and Today’s producers thinking when they clipped it out as a highlight? Maybe they have forgotten that NBC News paid Chelsea Clinton $600,000 a year for three years to do not very much and do it not very well, an arrangement that has always smelled of influence-peddling more than journalistic career development. Did NBC let her write her own material unedited and unchecked on the rare occasions that Chelsea produced something worth airing? Of course not:

Lauer asked the same question of Melania Trump last week, so it could be considered a fair-play move here, but it comes across more like a planned way to make a snide if indirect reference to the debacle surrounding Melania’s speech last week. Melania had told Lauer that she had written most of the speech herself, only to get humiliated when the actual speechwriter cut too close to a Michelle Obama speech that Melania had admired. Team Trump made the situation worse by pretending it never happened, extending the story for an unnecessary day until speechwriter Meredith McIver publicly fell on her sword.

Given Chelsea’s history at NBC, perhaps Lauer might have wanted to consider a glass-house analogy before going there.

Chelsea will deliver her highest-profile speech ever tonight, introducing her mother as the Democratic presidential nominee, and no doubt she understands the import of the moment. For that matter, Team Hillary knows it well enough to make sure it will be unassailable. Despite the fact that Chelsea makes $75,000 a speech these days, she’s not exactly dynamic in front of a microphone — a fact that NBC learned the hard way between 2011-2014. She’ll need all the help she can get to keep above Tim Kaine’s Mendoza line.

Or perhaps that’s not necessary. Democrats front-loaded most of their dynamic speakers into the first three days, burying Kaine’s acceptance speech and Kaine himself by squeezing in both Barack Obama and Joe Biden on Day 3 rather than tonight. Tonight viewers will likely see a parade of rhetorical non-entities in order to make the mediocre Hillary look good by comparison. So far, this is the procession leading up to Chelsea:

Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, is expected to introduce her mother to the delegation. But before that, some of the big names expected to address the delegates are:

  • Retired General John Allen
  • Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign
  • Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters
  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

Bring the No-Doz or the Red Bulls. The DNC will want to build up to Hillary’s acceptance speech, so Chelsea’s job is all the easier. She’ll talk about Hillary as her mother and as a grandmother, offer a few anecdotes about her steely will to help people, and then get off the stage as quickly as possible. Presumably Hillary will look like a dynamic speaker delivering a knockout speech in comparison to the rest of the stiffs that will precede her … if anyone’s still awake.

Jazz Shaw Jul 03, 2022 10:01 AM ET