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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
Among the most astounding, amazing, even weird coincidences of American popular culture is the revelation of a new dramatic series on CBS television called “Madame Secretary.”
Blonde actress Tea Leoni will portray ex-CIA analyst turned college professor Elizabeth McCord, who is drafted to become secretary of state after the incumbent dies in an airplane crash.
CBS says of the drama, “Tea Leoni stars as the secretary of state, one of the most powerful people in the nation. After years away from the CIA, she is pulled back into the political arena where she gets things done, even if it means not always playing by the rules. She’s tough, fair and smart, driving international diplomacy and wrangling office politics. But when she goes home for dinner with her husband and teenage children, politics takes on a whole new meaning.”
How this came out just as Hillary Clinton is launching her 2016 campaign for president is a mystery to me, but there you have it. I tell you, it’s almost supernatural that this is coming out of Hollywood at this time.
It’s as though Mrs. Clinton called the producers and suggested it. Of course, that’s ridiculous. Mrs. Clinton doesn’t have to call Hollywood people. They’ll do their best to help her out without her asking.
The trailer shows just what kind of character McCord is when she says, “I feel that I let the president down … by not insisting that he do the right thing.”
So you know it’s fiction.
Also fiction: In one of the many softball interviews of Mrs. Clinton about her new book (when did she find the time to churn out more than 600 pages?), she was asked what her greatest accomplishment was. She answered, straight-faced, that she had restored respect for America around the world.
Among the great political skills of ambitious politicians is the ability to say with apparent candor that up is down. Hillary’s got it.
He also has it: I wish I’d had my notebook handy to record the name of the former Harry Reid aide on Fox News last week. Asked why the president was giving global-warming speeches, playing golf and fundraising as the Iraq crisis erupted, he explained that Mr. Obama just had to keep raising funds to counter all the attack ads from the Republican Party.
I had no idea the GOP was being so aggressive. Probably mean-spirited, too. If only its attack ads weren’t invisible.
Anybody can be a journalist: This is especially true in the age of the Internet, when it is easy just to put up a page and hold forth. However, few can make $600,000 a year when just starting out in the profession.
That’s the figure, according to the Politico, that Chelsea Clinton makes from NBC as a “special correspondent.” Getting Ms. Clinton for such a paltry figure should rate as the greatest journalistic hiring coup since Julie Nixon Eisenhower became assistant managing editor at the Saturday Evening Post.
Real journalists have a right to be bitter about this sort of thing. They have worked years for substandard pay – with their penurious publishers bleating about their inability to attract the best and brightest – only to see the child of a politically connected family, a child without apparent aptitude, knocking down more than 10 times what they earn.
Is the young Ms. Clinton worth $600,000 a year? Judging by her output – in volume and quality – demonstrably she is not. But is she worth that sum to the network in suck-up value with the elder Clintons? That remains to be seen.
The truly sad thing is that this young woman probably never will be able to know her own worth. She’s just a game piece for her parents and for NBC, and she won’t be allowed to earn her way to respectability.
Maybe, given her millionaire status, she doesn’t care and doesn’t feel embarrassed. But she should.
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