WASHINGTON DC, USA – The Republican Party voted Friday, August 16, to deny two US television networks the rights to carry presidential primary debates unless they abandon their planned documentaries on Democrat Hillary Clinton.
NBC Entertainment is planning a miniseries and CNN is working on a documentary about the former secretary of state as she mulls over a potential run for the White House in 2016.
The Republican National Committee voted unanimously to go through with the threat it made last week.
“That’s why we said to the media, with a united voice, that a network that spends millions to spotlight Hillary Clinton is a network with an obvious bias,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said at a party meeting in Boston.
“And that’s a network that won’t be hosting a single Republican primary debate,” he said.
“There are plenty of other outlets. We’ll still reach voters, maybe more voters. But CNN and NBC anchors will just have to watch on their competitors’ networks.”
Clinton, a former first lady and US senator whose turn as America’s top diplomat has further secured her distinction, is seen as the clear Democratic frontrunner for president.
She has made no announcement but the RNC move, more than 3 years ahead of the 2016 election, indicates pre-election jitters about a Clinton campaign.
Clinton narrowly lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008.
She remains a political force to contend with, even amid the social-media milieu that she has joined very late.
Friday’s decision is the first step in a Republican bid to reassert control over the primary process, which was considered too long in the 2012 campaign that led to Mitt Romney’s nomination.
Many conservative Republicans want the party to skirt the networks altogether and organize the debates itself, with “appropriate” moderators, according to the resolution adopted Friday.
The Republicans would thus be able to reduce the number of debates and change the tone.
There were 20 held in 2012 to whittle down a field of some 10 contenders. This was too many, according to a party report published in March.
“The number of debates has become ridiculous, and they’re taking candidates away from other important campaign activities,” said the report or party “autopsy” after Obama defeated Romney last year.
The goal is to organize 10 or 12 debates starting in September 2015, or just 5 months before the first caucuses and primaries, in Iowa and New Hampshire. – Rappler.com
Here’s a report by CNN:
Hillary Clinton photo from Shutterstock