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Call off the Hillary Clinton shows
ENTERTAINMENT VS. NEWS
The GOP request shines a spotlight on the tricky nature of television news and how the entertainment wing of a network can cause headaches for its separate news division.
CNN Films is a unit of CNN that was started last year to develop featurelength documentaries to be aired both on television and in movie theaters. CNN, part of Time Warner Inc., has said it also will air its Clinton documentary in theaters.
NBC Entertainment is separate from NBC News but both are part of NBCUniversal, which Comcast purchased from General Electric in 2011. In his letter to the network, RNC chairman Reince Priebus Priebus noted that executives and employees of Philadelphiabased Comcast have made large financial contributions to the campaigns of Obama and Clinton in the past.
WASHINGTON The Republican National Committee charged Monday that NBC and CNN are promoting a potential presidential candidacy by Hillary Rodham Clinton, threatening to blackball them from future GOP primary debates if they air upcoming programs on the former secretary of state.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus called a planned NBC miniseries on Clinton and a CNN documentary on the 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.
Clinton has not yet said whether shell run for president again in 2016. 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. It will be led by Oscarwinning 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 fourhour miniseries will follow Clintons 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 that it is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project.
CNN said 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.
In the letters, Priebus said the RNC would refuse to partner with the two networks on future Republican primary debates or sanction any debates CNN or NBC may sponsor if they continued with their Clinton programs. Unless the networks comply, he plans to push for the sanctions at an RNC meeting in Boston beginning on Aug.