Republican Party officials have voted not to allow CNN and NBC to sponsor the 2016 Republican primary debates if the networks air programs about 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
CNN is working on a documentary and NBC is planning to air a biography on the former secretary of the State. The GOP views the programming as “little more than extended commercials supporting Secretary Clinton” and an attempt to sway voters for the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton has not said whether she plans on running for office but activists and democratic loyalists are busy organizing a campaign infrastructure if she decides to run.
On August 5, GOP chair, Reince Priebus, sent a letter to both networks advising them to drop the programs or face RNC action. NBC stated that the biopic is being developed by its entertainment division, a separate entity from the news division, so NBC News’ stance in being impartial is still firm. CNN has asked the Republicans to “reserve judgment” until the documentary is further along and then make a decision.
The RNC appears to have resorted to bullying tactics to get its way and the scenario reeks with political posturing.
Hispanics have been the focus of recruiting and outreach to gain ground on the Democrats for the 2016 presidential election, but the ban threatens to undermine RNC gains from the Hispanic community because it includes: NBC cable networks, Telemundo and CNN Espanol.
CNN issued a formal statement following the vote approving the ban:
“CNN Films, a division of CNN Worldwide, commissioned a documentary about Hillary Clinton earlier this year. It is expected to premiere in 2014 with a theatrical run prior to airing on CNN. The CNN broadcast date has not been determined. This documentary will be a non-fiction look at the life of a former First Lady and Secretary of State. The project is in the very early stages of development, months from completion with most of the reporting and the interviewing still to be done. Therefore speculation about the final program is just that. We encouraged all interested parties to wait until the program premieres before judgments are made about it. Unfortunately, the RNC was not willing to do that.”
It looks like the GOP is trying to play hardball but could very well play itself out of position. Both networks, NBC and CNN, aired debates during the 2012 campaign.