Pushback: RNC says no debates unless CNN, NBC cancel Hillary movies
This is just about all Republicans can do to head off the 8 hours or so of campaign commercials for Hillary Clinton that will be aired on NBC and CNN in late 2015.
The Republican National Committee has a message for NBC and CNN: If they don't pull their planned Hillary Clinton miniseries and movie, no RNC partnered 2016 debates for them.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote a letter to the heads of both networks to "express his deep disappointment" in their decision to either air a miniseries in NBC's case or a movie in CNN's, writing that the networks are "promoting former Secretary Hillary Clinton ahead of her likely candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.
"As an American company, you have every right to air programming of your choice," the letter reads. "But as American citizens, certainly you recognize why many are astounded at your actions, which appear to be a major network's thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election."
The RNC says that the programs could not only hurt the 2016 Republican contenders but the 2016 Democratic candidates too.
"This special treatment is unfair to the candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2016 who might compete against Secretary Clinton (including Vice President Biden; Govs. O'Malley, Cuomo and Hickenlooper; Sen. Klobuchar and others) and to the Republican nominee, should Clinton compete in the general election," Priebus' letter reads.
NBC announced its miniseries last month. It is a four-parter starring Diane Lane with no set air date. CNN announced last week it was planning a feature-length movie on the former secretary of state's life to premiere in movie theaters and television next year. Both networks have said the programs will have no effect on the news or reporting sides of the networks, and neither has said how Clinton will be portrayed.
A couple of things worth remembering. First, when Ronald Reagan ran for president, no movie channel showed any of his films, including such classics as Kings Row, Knute Rockne, All-American, and Sante Fe. Secondly, recall how the Clinton's reacted to the mildly critical way that Bill Clinton was portrayed in the ABC mini series, Path to 9/11. They had their friends in congress threatening ABC's FCC license, and in the end, they scared off every single sponsor so the show aired without commercials. They attacked the film makers and got ABC to make numerous changes to the script.
And we're supposed to believe that a network depiction of Hillary is going to be anything but hagiographic?
It's outrageous, of course. And the response from NBC and CNN is laughable:
"NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment, and has no involvement in this project," Erika Masonhall, a spokeswoman for the network told ABC News.
CNN responded with a statement asking the RNC not to rush to judgment and it is a "non-fiction" look at the former Secretary of State.
"CNN Films, a division of CNN Worldwide, commissioned a documentary about Hillary Clinton earlier this year," the statement says. "It is expected to premiere in 2014 with a theatrical run prior to airing on CNN. This documentary will be a non-fiction look at the life of a former First Lady and Secretary of State. Instead of making premature decisions about a project that is in the very early stages of development and months from completion, we would encourage the members of the Republican National Committee to reserve judgment until they know more. Should they decide not to participate in debates on CNN, we would find it curious, as limiting their debate participation seems to be the ultimate disservice to voters."
A "disservice to voters"? Who are they trying to kid?
Republicans should have had enough of both networks and their tiresome efforts to discredit their candidates. Boycotting both networks should be done even if they weren't making campaign films for the opposition.