The Republican National Committee (RNC) will vote Friday on whether to pull the group’s partnership with NBC and CNN for the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates because of the networks’ plans to air films on Hillary Clinton.
RNC communications director Sean Spicer said the vote will take place at 11 a.m. at the RNC summer meeting in Boston.
According to a document obtained by the Washington Examiner, the resolution calls the films “political favoritism” and accuses NBC and CNN of airing “programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton.”
Earlier this month, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus sent letters to CNN President Jeff Zucker and NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt warning he’d pull GOP debates from the networks over the films, which he called “a thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.”
The chairman argued that moving ahead with the movie projects was evidence that neither network could be trusted to be fair arbiters in a presidential debate.
NBC News has defended its project, saying it’s completely independent from the Clinton documentary, which is being produced by NBC Entertainment. CNN accused the RNC “of making premature decisions about a project that is in the very early stages of development and months from completion.”
In addition to voting on action against the networks, the resolution says the RNC “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.”
The RNC is looking to exert more influence over the debate process. In 2011 and 2012, the GOP candidates endured more than 20 debates, which some have said resulted in the party emerging from the primaries weakened by infighting and embarrassing nationally televised incidents.
This week, the Washington Examiner also reported that the RNC is considering some high-profile conservative media personalities, like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, as potential debate moderators.
“I actually think that’s a very good idea,” Priebus said.