But at some point—early adulthood—the general immunity from critical coverage needs to end. The threshold for newsworthiness recedes, and the children of presidents become more like the siblings, cousins, uncles and parents of presidents. In other words, if one of President Obama’s daughters got busted for drunk driving, few would expect saturation coverage from the press. But, say, had Obama’s Boston aunt gotten arrested for drunk driving before she died in 2014, there would have been no reason for the press to turn a blind eye. Chelsea Clinton should be treated no more royally than the Nixon daughters, Susan Ford, Amy Carter, the Gore children, or the Bush and Reagan progeny.
The coverage threshold falls lower still if a grown-up White House kid expands her own public profile, as Chelsea Clinton most definitely has. She has maintained a role as adviser and advocate inside the Clinton family’s political dynasty since leaving Stanford University. In late 2011, she crossed over to the dark and often invasive art of journalism, working at NBC News as a special correspondent ($600,000/year) until August 2014. Today, Chelsea serves as vice chair of the politically controversial Clinton Foundation, which has raised $2 billion since 2001. She’s a board member at Barry Diller’s IAC (paid a reported $300,000 a year, plus stock awards). She charges $65,000 per speech. Last fall, she published a book on “empowerment” for kids. She’s powerful. She exercises influence. She’s all grown up, soon to be the mother of two. If she isn’t newsworthy, nobody is.