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. us_1776

    GOP, you guys get more pathetic by the day.

    I suppose all those specials about Mitt Romney were boycotted by your guys? LOL!!

    I have an idea.

    Why doesn't the GOP get a special made about their OWN candidate and quit worrying about specials about someone else's candidate?


    August 11, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Gary

    Maybe we'll all get lucky and Preibus will boycott CNN and others on Sundays. I for one can do without listening to his nonsence.

    August 11, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. okay

    Normally people are done with their careers before they are subject material. I am not a defender of the former secretary of state, just failing to understand the time line here people. Our government works if we work through it, not ridicule it or make it a "show" – of any kind. West Wing was fictional – we understood that. – I find the idea fraught with precidents I do not care for regardless of intent.

    August 11, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. George

    What a crock. Who would ever listen to this hack again?

    August 11, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. John

    The idiot realized he was cutting himself off at his own knees, and this is his 'spin' to get out of it. ALL political parties need media, and you do not get their cooperation with threats and preconditions. Having belatedly learned this from others who have more sense, Priebus now tries to pull both feet and skins from his own big mouth. Notice though that there is no substantive difference anyway. His threat is as empty as when he made it.

    August 11, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. once again

    Once again, another argument to make you irrelevant. Great job Priebus. How much more irrelevant can you make the party?

    August 11, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Dumb and dumber....RNC chairman Priebus just can help shooting himself in the foot. This whole episode will only prove to be embarassing to the Republican Party.

    August 11, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. onlyfacts

    Hey stupid Hillary haters....she is not a candidate for anything. How could this be unfair? Also, is changing early voting dates in only democratic low income voting areas, where no voter fraud has EVER been reported fair? Stupid narrow minded Idiots!!!

    August 11, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Mow the GOP is telling is who we can watch on tv and that Obama healthcare is bad for us as long as the GOP members of congress get their free lifetime healthcare for themselves and their did functional families. No thanks GOP losers!!!!!

    August 11, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Single Malt

    Am I missing something here? If the RNC excludes CNN and NBC then they are willfully excluding the audience they need to actually win a national election. Do they honestly believe they can win win with just the loonies on the far right?

    August 11, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Ruby

    Great idea! Considering the pathetic show last time, the fascist right would do well to hide their primary from everyone.
    It seems the RNC has little use for the First Amendment but without the press, where do they hope to find the swing voters that decide elections?

    Goodbye Republicans, its been fun but progress has left you on the ash heap of history and moved on.

    August 11, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. stevetall

    Who hired this clown? So, FOX is OK, but only as long as they spew the Republican agenda? What a sorry excuse for a thinking human being. Guys like this are not going to save the party. RIP, Republicans.

    August 11, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. emperorzero

    Yet the Republicans have no problem with FOX actively recruiting Petraeus to run for office and promising him favorable coverage. I understand being nervous about CNN and NBC airing a documentary about Clinton, but to not have a problem with the company (FOX) who is creating it is absurd.

    August 11, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. What?

    I know Repubs who refused to watch Game Change. The Elephant has turned into the Ostrich, just bury your Head. Ridiculous Party RIDICULOUS

    August 11, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Evangelos

    Oh, I see. According to ReiNCe PRieBuS (i.e., RNC PR BS), if NBC is involved, it's completely unfair, biased and the end of the world as we know it. But if the Fox propaganda network does it - all is good.

    It's rare for such rank double-standard hypocrisy to be expressed so clearly, concisely and unambigiously in one mealy-mouthed interview.

    August 11, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Skeptic

    I wonder if Priebus gets dizzy from all the spinning he has to do now?

    August 11, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. A Little Common Sense

    Funny, you often hear conservatives/republicans whining about how they think democrats and big government are going to censor the media, but where's the outrage when the RNC threatens to deny access to an important part of democracy if CNN and NBC don't self censor. So not only are they trying to censor the media, they're holding democracy hostage as leverage to force the media to censor themselves for the RNC. But then again, what do you expect from the party that's held the American citizens hostage when it came time to raise the debt ceiling, and are threatening to do so again.

    August 11, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Ctrygrl

    "limiting debate participation" that is what it is all about. The more American voters the republicans can keep from seeing these debates the better off they are. These are for the nomination which is driven by the ultra hard right republican evangelical crazies (ie the cheering when one of the candidates commented on should b people who can't afford health care die). It was the stances Romney took in these debates then tried to walk back during the general election. How could anyone believe a word he said and how could they know from which stance he would govern. What they are angling for is to just get these debates on Fox News – friendly moderators friendly viewers, best way to hide these outrages stances from people who think.

    August 11, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Leroy

    Mr. Reeses Pieces is doing an excellent job of further alienating women voters from the GOP....

    August 11, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. somewhereinwashington

    Typical Republican hypocrisy.

    August 11, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. James Poster

    “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.

    This statement by Reince and Repeat clearly shows how stupid he thinks all of his constituents are. I hope you aren't all really this ignorant and easily manipulated no matter what he and his party think of you.

    August 11, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. WGB

    This is typical republican hypocrisy. Point fingers and lay blame at the feet of those who televise the product. But hold blameless those who work behind the scenes, unseen by prying eyes, who actually produce it. They selectively choose when to hear or see the evil. Instead of the elephant as they symbol of the party they should use an ostrich with it's head in the sand.

    August 11, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. vidal808

    Good to know that Hillary is giving the GOP a run for their money and installs fear! She will be our next President and stay for 2 terms. How about that Republicans?? In any case, CNN will air the program anyway regardless of this guys kicking and screaming. Makes him look like a real idiot!

    August 11, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Discernment


    Did anyone notice the uproar from both liberals and conservatives after it was announced that CNN & NBC would produce a miniseries based on Hillary's life? Even journalists from CNN & NBC complained.

    But when FOX announced it would produce a similar Hillary film, , , not a peep from political pundits on either side! The mice that roared against NBC's miniseries, has suddenly waxed silent and especially Reince Priebus. HYPOCRITES!

    August 11, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. James Poster

    Fox must have decided this movie will be a real money maker if they risked angering Reince and the GOP. More opportunities to laugh at their hilarious and hypocritical reactions.

    August 11, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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