August 11th, 2013
11:20 AM ET
9 years ago

Priebus: It matters who airs Clinton films, not who makes them

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(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday that his organization’s planned debate boycott was focused on NBC and CNN – which plan to air films about Hillary Clinton – and not companies which may produce those projects.

Priebus, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” was responding to a question from Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley about a report in The New York Times that Fox Television Studios was in the “early stages” of talks to produce NBC’s miniseries about Clinton, set to star Diane Lane. Fox Television Studios is a corporate sibling of Fox News Channel and the Fox broadcast network.

“The big question for me, Candy, is number one, which company is putting it on the air? Who is doing the work? I'm not interested if they're using the same caterer or whether they all drink Diet Coke and I'm not boycotting Diane Lane,” Priebus said.

When Crowley pointed out that a film’s production company includes the “people that write, produce and put together the shows,” Priebus maintained his stance that networks which air the projects should remain the primary subjects of his boycott.

“I am going to boycott the company that puts the mini-series and the documentaries on the air for the American people to view. I'm not interested in whether they use the same sound studio or whether they use the same set,” he said.

Last week Priebus said he would try to prevent CNN and NBC from hosting 2016 GOP presidential primary debates unless both networks agreed to cancel forthcoming television specials about the former secretary of state and potential Democratic candidate for the 2016 presidential nomination.

CNN's film unit has ordered a documentary about Clinton, who stepped down as secretary of state earlier this year after representing New York in the U.S. Senate and as first lady in the White House. The documentary is scheduled to air in 2014. NBC has announced plans to run a miniseries with Diane Lane playing the role of the former first lady.

Priebus cast the projects as merely campaign ads, and said no matter how they characterize Clinton, they’ll still effectively be promoting her ahead of the next presidential contest.

Last week, both networks released statements saying they would continue with the Clinton projects:

"CNN Films, a division of CNN Worldwide, commissioned a documentary about Hillary Clinton earlier this year. It is expected to premiere in 2014 with a theatrical run prior to airing on CNN. This documentary will be a non-fiction look at the life of a former First Lady and Secretary of State. 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. 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."

"NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project."

Filed under: Reince Priebus • RNC
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Mark

    The real problem withe the republic white people's party is that their ranks no longer seem to have intellectual heft. With Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and others , the only network that could host their party debates are the hypocrites at Fox network.

    August 11, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. Mark

    Once a proud Republican, what kind of person could vote for the new republic party?

    August 11, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. publius II

    What an idiot. If he (and the RNC) actually follow through, they're handing the 2016 presidential election to the Dems without a fight. They are saying that the only voters they care about are the ones who watch Fox. They REALLY believe that they can win with their true believers without anyone else. First rule of politics, Reince: Never, ever assume you've got it won, and never, ever think you don't need more votes than you think you already have.

    August 11, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Getoverit

    Can't wait to watch "Hillary: What Difference, At This Point, Does It Make?"

    August 11, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Pete

    Priebus thinks he's as relevent as Micheal Steele was as republicans mouth piece ..But only relevent when using plastic like Steele did in that Los Angeles strip joint right folks!!Called it BONDAGE GATE how original!!Nothing like getting caught with your pants down but thats republicans always getting caught doing idiotic crap and dumb enough to think they got away with it!!

    August 11, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. chudspeth

    First off, the GOP can partner with any network for their own primary, its not censoring. Democrats don't partner with Fox News either, so this isn't unheard of.

    Second, as a Republican, I think Riebus made a great move. All CNN and NBC want to do is show the bad parts of the primaries to the public, which only hurts the GOP in the eyes of independents. Luckily Romney was able to win Indy's by five points in 2012 despite the media opposition.

    Final thing to note, funny how the only people who seem upset about this story are liberals. Shouldn't they be happy if this truly hurts the GOP? Maybe they don't want to give their ratings to Fox news, which I guess they'll be forced to do. Or maybe they're scared they won't have the help of gaffe tv shown by MSNBC or CNN in 2016 this time to hurt the GOP and help Hillary.

    Don't think CNN and NBC will be fine about this, think of all the stories they'll lose if they don't have anything to write about in late 2015 and 2016 for GOP candidates. They may even be forced to show gaffes of Dem candidates to keep the ratings up. Oh the horror!
    This is the best move the GOP has made in a while!

    August 11, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. milo minderbinder

    Sour grapes for Mr. Rincey Priapus. The object of a debate is to throw issues into the open forum for discussion. This is not the case for the Repubs. They still do not embrace anything that is not in their image. This is enormously evident in how they welcome minorities into their graces....NOT! The only problem is that US law requires equal airtime especially for both major parties, otherwise if I were one of the targeted networks, I would politely advise Mr. Priapus to "shove it!"

    August 11, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. ARTraveler

    Is he aware that extortion is a crime? Actually, the best thing he could hope for is to keep his Krazy Klown Kar parade off the TV because everytime they open their mouths, intelligent people (non-GOTP people) just look at the clowns and don't see any of them representing the US in any circumstance. I think we need CNN to do a program on Ronnie Ray-Gun and talk about all his tax increases (18) and illegal weapon sales in violation of US law. That what the GOP wants or is that no TV channel can show the GOP people as they really are-the Tea Party Brotherhood pushing to make their version of Sharia law into US law, reduce the rights of Americans and dismantle the safety net for the less fortunate.

    August 11, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Mike

    What if they just dont watch the shows they dont want to watch? Or just shut off the tv? Or support the fairness rule requireing equal time for both R and D points of view?

    August 11, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. Marie

    Airing a Hillary documentary before the 2016 elections would be unfair publicity for one potential candidate over the others.
    And I would love to see how they handle the Benghazi disaster. Where was Hillary when the Brits pulled out several weeks before due to threats and attacks?? Why did she leave them unguarded and then did not order a rescue team with at least 6 hours of time to save them?

    August 11, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Marie

    Seems like most of the comments are from persons who do not know that the news media should not be influencing voters with documentaries unless they give equal time to all candidates.

    August 11, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. Derek

    You couldn't possibly make this stuff up, but it's happening in reality!!

    The RNC is such a bad joke right now. Does he have any idea how silly and whinny he sounds?

    I wonder.. .

    August 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. The Pontificator

    These networks can't have it both ways. If they're going to carry the knee pads for Hillary, don't expect the other side to take them for a fair game.

    August 11, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. ge

    republicans believe in freedom ,they will just pick and chose which ones are best for you

    August 11, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. Donkey Party

    Where was all this phony outrage when CNN and MSNBS ran documentaries on Mitt Romney right before the 2012 elections??? And another thing, to you knuckle-draggerrs who keep saying Hillary said "what difference does it make", was about the type of attack, not about the loss of life. It's amazing how the right-wing just keeps perpetrating lies.

    August 11, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  16. dawn

    I agree that NBC and CNN shouldn't run their projects. This unprecedented focus on one potential candidate is unfair both to the potential candidate and to her potential rivals. However, if the Republicans are going to boycott the networks airing the projects, I can see no principled reason for refusing to boycott the network whose affiliated companies will be producing one of the projects.

    August 11, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  17. Capt Nemo

    This is not news. There was a non-fiction docudrama made about Ronald and Nancy Reagan ("The Reagans") and the GOP leaned hard and got CBS (huge potential audience) not to show it; they thought the truth about St. Ronald the Senile wouldn't match the historical fiction the GOP puts out about him. Broadcast was delayed, CBS was intimidated and didn't run it, and Showtime ran it to a much smaller audience.

    Here's a great quote for you form that controversy; it shows how viciously effective the GOP can be in intimidating even large corporations. The quote proves that even though there were primary sources for each scene or quote that caused controversy (that is, the script is true) it still isn't "balanced". Pray tell, with what does one "balance" the truth?

    From CBS: "although the producers have sources to verify each scene in the script, we believe it does not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans for CBS and its audience."

    Hillary has scared Hell out of the right for decades because they know how smart and how effective a politician she is.
    So, now with the Clinton film, once again the party of freedom, liberty, and America goes with "prior restraint" as their tactic. Shows the contempt with with they perceive the actual liberties of this nation (like free speech) and how stupid they thing we are (like we didn't know what they did before and are trying to do now, or don't understand how horribly wrong it is to attempt to prevent, suppress, or subvert free expression).

    Sorry if that pesky First Amendment gets in your way, Priebus.

    August 11, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  18. king

    what happens to the capitalism small government, freedom and liberty these repubs love to preach. they monitor women wombs, they threaten private companies if they dont do their bidden like the sports teams. now they are threatening our news programs. what ever happen to freedom of the press fox news love to preach about.

    August 11, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  19. Larry in Houston

    Rinse Prebus is doing What ?? LOL . . . yeah right there, 'ol Rinse ....... "Warn" them ....... If you think those stations will stoop to your level, you must have a few marbles missing. lol . . . I mean, do you think the CEO's of those Billion dollar Stations are going to give a rat's behind IF you "Drop" Them ? Or are you saying that you are "warning" Them ? and YOU (the RNC) is going to drop them ?? either way,you are sounding like your insane, man......why don't you guys give that Job to the Newtster, I think he will do a much better job than you will ever hope to have done. LOL

    August 11, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    Dear Mr Priebus go for it man you are just demonstrating normal republican hypocrisy that the constitution is the be all and end all,, and this nonsense is against the firs t constitutional principle of freedom of speech.. you want to gag two major Networks or then re-act by banning anyone in your party from participating in freedom of speech electoral debates because of the media organisations freedom of speech actions.
    If I were CNN or NBC I would take you to court to stop such unconstitutional activity.

    August 12, 2013 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    This guy is doing a pretty good job of losing votes for the Republican party. Go to it man bash CNN and NBC to death. what I don't get is your personal death wish.

    August 12, 2013 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
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