On Monday, the GOP took aim at two major news networks.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has threatened to pull NBC and CNN's access to the 2016 Republican primary debates unless those companies pull their current Hillary Clinton-related film projects.
In open letters to the leadership of NBC Universal and CNN International, Priebus expressed his "deep disappointment" over those networks' decisions to produce films "promoting former Secretary Hillary Clinton ahead of her likely candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016."
Should the networks fail to pull those films by the RNC's Summer meeting on August 14, Priebus writes, he will "seek a binding vote of the RNC stating that the committee will neither partner with you in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates which you sponsor."
"As an American company you have every right to air programming of your choice. But as American citizens, certainly you recognize why many are astounded by your actions, which appear to be a major network's thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 election," Priebus wrote in his letters to NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt and CNN president Jeff Zucker.
Greenblatt announced last month that NBC was working on a miniseries about Hillary Clinton that will star Diane Lane (Really? What, is Brooke Shields going to play former Attorney General Janet Reno? - ed.); two days later, POLITICO reported that CNN was at work on a feature-length documentary about the former Secretary of State, to be directed by Inside Job's Charles H. Ferguson.
What a refreshing change of pace that someone in the GOP is showing a little whiz and vinegar. Whether or not NBC or CNN ever gives favorable coverage to Republicans, the fact of the matter is they get better ratings when airing a GOP debate over, say, Dateline and Crossfire, respectively.
Are the pieces on Mrs. Clinton really worth losing key debates in the midst of a Presidential election season? Well, that's something the respective networks' brass will have to decide by August 14.
One could argue that the GOP would be hurting only themselves by limiting access to potential voters who regularly watch NBC or CNN. In my opinion, that's not nearly as salient an issue today. With multiple TV channels and internet streaming available to almost every American adult, there's certainly no shortage of venues by which to broadcast an event. CNN and NBC can dismiss the RNC's concerns all they want but they will do so at their own peril.