Republicans vote to exclude CNN and NBC from 2016 debates

By David Ferguson
Friday, August 16, 2013 12:49 EDT
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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
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The Republican National Committee voted unanimously on Friday to exclude TV networks CNN and NBC from any Republican presidential primary debates. According to The Hill, the move is a form of retaliation against the networks for not bowing to the party’s pressure to not air a pair of films about former Secretary of State (and putative 2016 Democratic presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton.

“We don’t have time for the media’s games,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus about the election, which is still more than three years away. “We’re done putting up with this nonsense. There are plenty of other news outlets.”

The committee was meeting in Boston for its annual summer meeting. In its resolution against the networks, party officials called for “media objectivity and accountability” and called the Clinton films, which are still in the pre-production phases “political favoritism.”

CNN’s Jeff Zucker announced in July that the network would be producing a feature-length film about the former First Lady and New York Senator. NBC is planning on releasing a four-part miniseries about Clinton with actress Diane Lane playing the lead role.

CNN accused the Republicans of “making premature decisions about a project that is in the very early stages of development and months from completion.”

The RNC resolution also motioned to “endeavor to bring more order to the primary debates and ensure a reasonable number of debates, appropriate moderators and debate partners are chosen, and that other issues pertaining to the general nature of such debates are addressed.”

The party may still be smarting from the 2012 primary process, in which an excessive number of televised debates (there were 20) ended up exposing candidates’ key weaknesses rather than highlighting their strengths. The Republican race to be the nominee wound up being a kind of carousel in which each candidate briefly rose to the top of the polls only to come crashing down again as another candidate gained favor with voters.

Meanwhile, Republican debate audiences booed and catcalled a gay U.S. soldier, cheered at the idea of uninsured people dying of preventable, treatable illnesses. They shouted down the idea of women using birth control then wildly applauded Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)’s excessive reliance on the death penalty.

The process left all of the candidates bruised in the public eye and in the end, resulted in the nomination of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who some predicted would carry the nomination a full year before the election.

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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