The Republican National Committee is upset that CNN and NBC are planning to air features on possible Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- and it wants the public to help stop it, even at this early stage, three years ahead of the 2016 primary debates. The RNC has launched a “The Liberal Media Loves Hillary” petition on its website, asking Americans to sign and "hold the liberal media accountable.”
Clinton, who resigned in January as secretary of state, has not announced whether she will make another bid for the White House. But in case the former first lady plans to do so, the RNC doesn’t want her getting what they say would be free ads from the networks, or a leg up with positive narratives in the media.
“These are clearly major networks’ thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election,” the petition read. “This is wrong, and the Republican National Committee will not stand for it.”
The RNC has threatened to boycott both NBC and CNN for the 2016 primary debates if the two networks don’t abandon their plans to air a miniseries and documentary, respectively, on the former first lady.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote the companies on Monday, informing them of his “deep disappointment” with their decision.
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“As an American company, you have every right to air programming of your choice,” Priebus’ letter read. “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.”
Priebus accused the networks of “special treatment,” which he said is “unfair” to both the Democratic and Republican candidates who might compete against Clinton. In a letter to NBC, Priebus wrote there is “ample cause for concern” since executives and employees of the networks’ parent company Comcast “have been generous supporters of Democrats and Secretary Clinton.”
Both networks announced their Clinton shows last month. CNN Films said its feature-length documentary, by Oscar-winning direct and producer Charles Ferguson, will premiere next year. And an NBC four-hour miniseries will have star power to go with it, with actress Diane Lane playing the part of Clinton.
Priebus said that if these programs aren’t pulled before the RNC's summer meeting on Aug. 14, he will move to get a binding vote preventing the committee from partnering with the networks for the debates and other primary debates sponsored by CNN and NBC.
However, the two networks refuse to budge and released separate statements saying they will proceed with their projects.
“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,” CNN’s statement read. “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.”
Meanwhile, NBC News said it is “completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project,” according to Yahoo.