Republican Party leaders unanimously voted to prohibit 2016 presidential primary debate partnerships with NBC and CNN because the networks plan to broadcast programs highlighting Hillary Rodham Clintons life and career.
These programming decisions are an attempt to show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election, said a resolution approved Friday at a Republican National Committee meeting in Boston.
Party Chairman Reince Priebus has called the shows free advertising for Clinton, who may become his partys biggest hurdle to retaking the White House.
A network that spends millions of dollars to spotlight Hillary Clinton is a network with an obvious bias, he said to a standing ovation from the RNC members before the vote. And thats a network that wont be hosting a single Republican primary debate.
CNN Films is planning a feature-length documentary about the former U.S. secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady. NBC Entertainment has a mini-series in the works in which actress Diane Lane, 48, has been cast to play Clinton, 65.
Both networks have said they intend to move ahead with the productions. CNN spokeswoman Jennifer Scoggins said in a statement Friday that the RNC is jumping to conclusions.
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, she said. 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.
NBC, in a statement last month, said its mini-series would recount Clintons life as a wife, politician and cabinet member from 1998 to present. The network didnt immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment Friday.
Not all Republican leaders share Priebus concern about the programs.
These industries can do whatever they want, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said Tuesday during a stop in Apalachicola, Fla.
Theres no surprise that the media is enamored with her or whatever – at least some of those stations are – but I havent had a chance to think about whether there should be a boycott, Rubio said.
The Democratic National Committee mocked the decision.
While the Republican Party and the RNC continue to have side-show debates, Democrats will continue to fight for a better bargain for middle class Americans, DNC spokesman Michael Czin said in a statement Friday.
The planned programs underscore the large shadow that Clinton casts, even as she has given no direct sign of preparing for another presidential run after losing the 2008 Democratic nomination to President Barack Obama.
On her behalf, the Ready for Hillary super political action committee is building a database of supporters and donors, lining up endorsements and signing experienced campaign hands. It raised $1.25 million through the end of June, the majority of it in just one month.
In remarks this week on voting rights to the American Bar Association, Clinton sent her most visible signal yet that she wants to be part of a national dialogue by saying she plans to give several policy speeches this year.
She will deliver one in Philadelphia next month on the balance and transparency needed in national security policies. Later this year, shes planning an address on Americas global leadership and our standing around the world.