WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Republican Party officials have passed a resolution to stop CNN and NBC from hosting GOP primary debates in 2016 over the controversy surrounding the networks decisions to air specials on Hillary Clinton.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus made the announcement regarding the boycott on Twitter Friday morning. Officials held the vote at the RNC Summer Meeting in Boston.
Priebus called a planned NBC miniseries on Clinton and a CNN documentary on the former first lady an “extended commercial” for a future Clinton presidential campaign. In separate letters to the networks, he urged them to cancel “this political ad masquerading as an unbiased production.”
The former secretary of state has not yet said whether she’ll run for president again in 2016 but her future remains the subject of wide speculation in political circles and beyond. The primary debates typically provide a ratings boost for the networks and are highly-coveted as the presidential campaign unfolds.
In making the charge, the RNC was raising a common complaint among Republican activists that news and entertainment industries favor Democratic candidates. Republicans have also used a potential Clinton campaign as a fundraising tool in recent months as both parties begin to assess the crop of candidates to succeed President Barack Obama.
CNN Films is planning a feature-length documentary film on the former first lady, looking at her professional and personal life. It will be led by Oscar-winning director and producer Charles Ferguson and is expected to air in 2014.
NBC has announced a miniseries called “Hillary,” starring actress Diane Lane. No air date has been announced but it is timed to be released before the 2016 presidential election. NBC has said the four-hour miniseries will follow Clinton’s life and career from 1998 to the present.
Richard Licata, an NBC Entertainment spokesman, declined comment on the request and referred calls to NBC News, which said in a statement that it “is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project.”
CNN said in a statement that “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,” CNN said.
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