Two state GOP chairmen on Monday quickly endorsed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus’s demand that CNN and NBC drop two movie projects about the life of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The GOP chiefs from the two early voting primary states vowed to not cooperate with the networks on any 2016 presidential primary debates.
Priebus on Monday wrote to the heads of NBC and CBS and threatened to not partner with them on 2016 debates if they went ahead with plans to air two films about Clinton, a possible Democratic contender.
This special treatment is unfair to the candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2016 who might compete against Secretary Clinton ... and to the Republican nominee should Clinton compete in the general election,” he added.
Erika Masonhall, communications director for NBC News, said Monday afternoon that the news division was completely independent of NBC Entertainment, the group producing the Clinton movie.
Stmt from @NBCNews re RNC/Clinton: "NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project."— Erika Masonhall (@ErikaMasonhall) August 5, 2013
The RNC letter also brought a flood of reaction from strategists and the media, with David Plouffe, President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, mocking the RNC demands.
Better RNC debate plan. Held in hermetically sealed Fox studio. Avoid exposing swing voters to Crazy S*#t My Nominee Says.— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) August 5, 2013
Journalist Byron York of The Washington Examiner, said that Priebus’s letters could set the stage for Republicans to move the debates to media outlets they believe are more receptive to their message.
Should be said that even before Hillary docs, some Republicans were thinking of not working with NBC and CNN in 2016 debates...— Byron York (@ByronYork) August 5, 2013
Some conservatives have criticized past debate hosts, alleging biased or unfair questioning during the 2012 election.
CNN’s Candy Crowley courted criticism after she corrected GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s assertion that President Obama waited two weeks to call the Benghazi, Libya, attacks as “acts of terror” during a 2012 debate.
This story was updated at 3:34 p.m.