RNC Unanimously Votes to Shut Out CNN, NBC From Debates

Image: RNC Unanimously Votes to Shut Out CNN, NBC From Debates

Friday, 16 Aug 2013 12:58 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Republican National Committee on Friday made good on its threat to dump CNN and NBC from covering its GOP presidential primary debates unless they drop their "political ad" productions about Hillary Clinton.

It unanimously passed a resolution that prevents any partnership with the two networks as long as the Clinton projects move forward.

So far, neither has budged in their plans to produce the programs, despite pleas from some of their own news staffers.

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"Former Secretary Hillary Clinton is likely to run for President in 2016, and CNN and NBC have both announced programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting [her]," the RNC said in the resolution passed at its summer meeting in Boston.

"These programming decisions are an attempt to show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election.

"Airing this programming will jeopardize the credibility of CNN and NBC as supposedly unbiased news networks and undermine the perceived objectivity of the coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign by these networks."

The RNC noted also that Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, contributed the maximum amount to Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign committee; $25,000 to Obama's 2012 Victory Fund; and this year, $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee.

The committee again called on CNN and NBC "to cancel the airing of these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment."

It said that if they continue the projects, the committee "will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor."

The RNC concluded it will "endeavor to bring more order to the primary debates and ensure a reasonable number of debates, appropriate moderators, and debate partners."

The no-nonsense resolution follows RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' warning earlier this month that the two television networks would be shut out unless they pulled the Clinton projects.

Priebus had written both NBC's Greenblatt and Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, to protest their programming plans.

"It's appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton's campaign operatives," Priebus said.

NBC has announced plans to air a four-hour mini-series about the former first lady, senator, and secretary of state entitled "Hillary," which, the network says, will track "Clinton's life as a wife, mother, politician, and cabinet member," starting in 1998.

CNN is working on a documentary from director Charles Ferguson, who won an Oscar in 2011 for his film "Inside Job," which he once described as chronicling "the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry."

In letters to the two networks, Priebus said airing the shows would be unfair not only to the GOP's presidential pick, but to Clinton's potential Democratic primary rivals — who he named as Vice President Joe Biden, Govs. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, Andrew Cuomo of New York, and John Hickenlooper of Colorado, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

He said the networks' "actions to promote Secretary Clinton are disturbing and disappointing. … I hope Americans will question the credibility of these networks and that NBC and CNN will reconsider their partisan actions and cancel these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment."

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NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd has said the planned mini-series from his network's entertainment division could represent a disaster for the news division.

People fail to realize the split between the two NBC arms, which don't always get along, he told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"This is why this mini-series is a total nightmare for NBC News," Todd said.

Christopher Hahn, former Senior Aide to Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer said the GOP is off the mark in pressuring the networks.

"I think they're making a big mistake. I don't think that the greatness of Hillary Clinton is what these movies are going to be about," told Newsmax’s John Fund, guest host of the Friday edition of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.



"You're going to hear about Monica Lewinsky, you're going to hear about [Bill Clinton’s Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster] … who killed himself.

"These guys want to make a movie that people are going to want to watch . . . If it's just a fluff piece on Hillary, nobody's going to want to watch it. They're going to want to tune in for the dirty details and the Republican Party should understand that."





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