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Grow Up

MSNBC reporter David Shuster has been suspended for saying, in reference to Chelsea Clinton's new prominence on the campaign trail, "Doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"

Chelsea Clinton is the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton. (You may have heard of them.) Daughter, but no longer child. Chelsea was born in 1980. She is 26 years old, will soon be 27. Chelsea Clinton is a grown-up. She's a big girl. She's no longer the little girl Rush Limbaugh famously and inexcusably ridiculed. She's no different than any other public figure, no more entitled to kid glove treatment. No one held a gun to her head and forced her onto the political stage, she walked out there of her own accord, and she can hardly pretend she didn't know the lights on that stage were harsh.

There's not a man, woman or child who believes that Shuster was actually suggesting the Clintons were treating Chelsea like a prostitute. He was using a fairly common phrase. I use it all the time. So why the outrage? It's faux victimhood. Asinine accusations based on ridiculous gotcha! moments. The outrage is 100% manufactured. 100% false.

It is intimidation from the Clintons. Intimidation. Bullying. Thuggery. They saw a tiny crevice of an opening and are using it to beat up MSNBC in hopes of getting better treatment from the network. The Clintons aren't upset; they're laughing.

I'm not a fan of Mr. Shuster. He's a good reporter, but lately he's been falling victim to Paul Krugman disease. He's spending as much time seething as reporting. But in this case, in this context, he's done nothing wrong. Slightly off-color? Eh . . . okay. Reason to suspend him? No.

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“Grow Up”

  1. Blogger Hallq Says:

    Dude, I understand your main point, but is there any reason to blame the Clintons for this? Bogus moves to protect people from harmless comments happen all the time. The suspension could have come as the result of a much vaguer fear of backlash, without the Clintons lifting a finger.

  2. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    The Clintons threatened to cut MSNBC out of debates behind this. At MSNBC Olbermann is clearly tilting to Obama. This was an excuse for the Clinton team to hammer MSNBC and I am just sick to death of this kind of bullshit politics. They need to fight on the issues, but cut out this trivial bullshit.

  3. Blogger Pastor_Jeff Says:

    You're absolutely right in your assessment of the Clintons, but I think there's plenty of blame to go around.

    The comment was totally uncalled for. Has anybody else been accused of "pimping out" their kids on the campaign trail? I don't think it's just the crude phrase, it's assigning evil motives and trashing a former President's family. You expect that from the opposition camp, sure, but from a reporter?

    At the same time, the Clintons have no hesitation at playing the victim, punishing people who show disloyalty, and blowing any perceived slight out of proportion, all for maxiumum political value.

    I think everyone involved needs to grow up.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    This is the first place I have seen an appropriate reaction to the Chelsea pimping story.
    Yes, it was a bad choice of words; no he did not mean she is a hooker. Chelsea was an awkward child when she ended up involuntarily living in the White House and she was appropriately protected from the press, and generally not overly exploited by the Clintons.
    She is now an adult, she is an asset of the campaign, and yet she still makes only carefully managed appearances and won't talk to the press, famously, not even grade school reporters. So, she is being used by the campiagn, but only as window dressing. Pimped out? Well voluntarily exploited may be a better term, and now they are exploiting the opportunity to wail about Shuster's statement and moan how they've been victimized. Grow up! She's 28 years old, for heaven's sake.

  5. Blogger Randy (Internet Ronin) Says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    I think this probably comes down to individual styles of expression. In my family we have a very tough style. I talk about some business deal and my wife will say, "You're such a whore." She'll display OCD traits and I'll say, "You know, life would be easier if you weren't a loon." I'm generally, "an asshole," and she's often, "a bitch." We've been together for 28 years, will always be together, and in addition to being husband and wife are business and writing partners. So obviously the words are for comic purposes, teasing, occasionally to express irritation.

    As a rule words have two meanings: their dictionary definition, and their intended meaning. My guess is that professional writers of all types will tend to use much more dramatic and aggressive language than other people. We like the extremes.

    Shuster is a word guy. What he did was engage in short-hand that would scarcely have raised an eyebrow in a reporter's shop, and would have gone unremarked in our little den of kidlit writers.

    I think this is a classic PC flap and nothing more.

  7. Blogger David Says:

    I understand that 'pimp out' is a stupid way to say 'loan out without concern for', but I'd actually like an explanation of how the Clinton's treatment of Chelsea is the slightest bit inappropriate, or different in any way than what other campaigns do with their adult children.

    And I'd also like an explanation how she could be 'pimped out' by her own mother to her own mother's campaign. That doesn't even make sense. When people are 'pimped out', they are loaned to other people. If she was showing up at ribbon cuttings and stuff by herself, okay. But someone who has their kid working phones for them isn't 'pimping them out' no matter how much people want to use slang.

    No, the comment wasn't what some people think it was, but it's a rather significant demonstration how the Clinton campaign is treated different from other campaigns. Or maybe how Democrats are treated differently from Republicans, or maybe how female candidates are treated differently from men, I'm not sure which.

    Or maybe they're just mad because she was told not to talk to the press outside of specific venues, and is sticking with it. Which might be some slightly valid complaint if she was setting policy or something, not running a frickin phone bank, but it doesn't justify the implication that it is somehow wrong for her to work for the campaign.

  8. Blogger Pastor_Jeff Says:


    Ha! Yes, usage and meaning definitely differ from place to place. This is a perfect case of "your mileage may vary."

  9. Blogger Howlin' Hobbit Says:

    David says: "I understand that 'pimp out' is a stupid way to say 'loan out without concern for'"

    Actually the second common meaning these days is "dressed up" or (I shudder to use the term but...) "blinged up" as in "pimp my ride" or "pimp my crib."

    As far as this whole flap is concerned, it hardly matters what meaning the guy intended. It's just another attack by the PC Police on the 1st Amendment (not to mention common sense).

  10. Blogger dirtyword.net Says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.