Updated at 1:30 pm EDT
Republican Party leaders unanimously voted today to prohibit 2016 presidential primary debate partnerships with NBC and CNN because the networks plan to broadcast programs highlighting Hillary Clinton’s life and career.
“These programming decisions are an attempt to show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election,” said a resolution approved today at a Republican National Committee meeting in Boston.
Party Chairman Reince Priebus has called the shows free advertising for Clinton, who may become his party’s biggest hurdle to retaking the White House.
“A network that spends millions of dollars to spotlight Hillary Clinton is a network with an obvious bias,” he said to a standing ovation from the RNC members before the vote. “And that’s a network that won’t be hosting a single Republican primary debate.”
Not all Republican leaders share Priebus’s concern.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, downplayed the importance of the matter and questioned how many would watch the Clinton programs.
“These industries can do whatever they want,” he said Aug. 13 during a stop in Apalachicola, Florida. “I understand the concern that the chairman has with regard to these media outlets basically running infomercials. We all know that.”
“There’s no surprise that the media is enamored with her or whatever — at least some of those stations are — but I haven’t had a chance to think about whether there should be a boycott or something like that,” he said.
CNN Films is planning a feature-length documentary about the former U.S. secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady and NBC Entertainment (CMCSA) has a mini-series in the works. Actress Diane Lane, 48, has been cast to play Clinton, 65.
NBC is said to be talking with FOX about producing its mini-series — though Priebus has said he won’t penalize FOX for that.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) August 16, 2013