You could say, on the one hand, that Chelsea’s is a particular case demanding a particular brand of reportorial delicacy, that the kid gloves befit someone who—on the campaign trail, at least—is playing the role of, well, a kid. (“My Mom” is perhaps the most common utterance Chelsea makes on the stump.) Still, it seems to me, a surrogate’s a surrogate. When Chelsea chose to stump for her mother, she effectively relinquished her right to be sheltered from the press’s spotlight, uncomfortable questions and all. If her surrogacy makes a campaign issue of Hillary-Clinton-as-Wife-and-Mother, in particular, then it’s only fair to ask her questions about the very issue she’s raised. (And the corollary to Hillary-as-Wife is Monica-as-Mistress.) No question should be off-limits, for Chelsea or any other campaigner—as long as those being questioned reserve their right to a “no comment.” A surrogate who is allowed to speak without push-back from the press skews the checks and balances of campaign-trail discourse. Even when that surrogate’s name is Chelsea.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.