In response to their plans to air programs about Hillary Clinton, the Republican National Committee resolved today not to partner with CNN and NBC News for any of the 2016 presidential primary debates.
CNN Films brought on Charles H. Ferguson (of "No End In Sight" and "Inside Job") to direct a documentary for the network about the former Secretary of State, assuring Politico that "CNN's editorial side has no role in the production of the film, just as it has no role in any of the films produced or acquired by CNN Films." NBC's announced plans to produce a scripted miniseries about Clinton at the TCA summer press tour, starring Diane Lane and written and directed by Courtney Hunt ("Frozen River").
The RNC resolution:
WHEREAS, 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 former Secretary Clinton; and
WHEREAS, these programming decisions are an attempt to show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election; and
WHEREAS, 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; and
WHEREAS, Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, contributed the maximum amount to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign committee, contributed $25,000 to Obama’s 2012 Victory Fund, and this year contributed $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee; therefore be it –
RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee calls on CNN and NBC to cancel the airing of these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that if CNN and NBC continue to move forward with this and other such programming, the Republican National Committee will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor, and, be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee shall endeavor to bring more order to the primary debates and ensure a reasonable number of debates, appropriate moderators and debate partners are chosen, and that other issues pertaining to the general nature of such debates are addressed.
While the declaration that the Clinton projects will amount to a "thinly veiled attempt" to help Clinton get elected, as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in his speech, is premature -- neither project has been completed, much less seen by the members of the RNC -- journalists at the networks mentioned have also previously expressed concern over the complications inherent in reporting from an outlet producing a doc or miniseries about a potential presidential candidate, no matter what kind of editorial walls are in place.
CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley told Politico that while the Ferguson film comes from "an outside documentary group," "we're with CNN and so this is not a story where the nuances are well-received, particularly by Republicans." It "make life more difficult, I think there’s no doubt about it," she added. NBC News' Chief White House Correspondent and MSNBC "The Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd tweeted of the announcement of NBC's miniseries that "Just want to get this out of the way now: NBC News has nothing to do w/Clinton mini series on NBC entertainment. So save your complaints." "People are going to see the peacock, and they see NBC, and they see NBC News, and they think, ‘Well, they can’t be that separate,'" he elaborated on "Morning Joe," calling the situation a "nightmare."