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Editorial: GOP vs. CNN? This fight’s not worth it

If you’re a TV network hoping to lure easily distracted viewers, are you more likely to produce:

(A) A gushy love letter to a well-known public figure or

(B) A high-drama story filled with political intrigue, international tension, big wins, big losses and a sex scandal or two involving a recklessly cheating spouse?

Our guess is (B). And if the subject at hand is Hillary Clinton, there’s more than enough polarizing controversy in her long, public career to fill an hour or two.

That’s what makes the latest GOP dustup such a mystery.

National Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus this week threatened to refuse to team up with CNN or NBC on any 2016 presidential primary debates if the networks don’t pull the plug on their planned documentaries about Clinton, the former secretary of state, first lady and U.S. senator – and a possible candidate for president. NBC has said it plans a mini-series about Clinton with actress Diane Lane as the star. CNN is planning a feature-length documentary about her as well.

Priebus said he would seek a binding vote at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting this month to formalize the boycott and called the planned TV shows a “thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.”

His worries – and his threat – were quickly echoed by New Hampshire GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn.

“Chairman Priebus raises valid concerns in his letter to NBC and CNN executives, and I will support his resolution if it comes up for a vote at the RNC summer meeting,” Horn said in a written statement. “Republican presidential candidates should not be forced to participate in debates that are hosted by networks that choose to actively promote Democrats. I will also recommend that the New Hampshire Republican State Committee Executive Board support a ban on co-sponsoring debates with NBC or CNN unless Chairman Priebus’s concerns are addressed.”

Without seeing these still-unproduced projects, Priebus and Horn seem to imagine that they’ll be little more than free political ads for Clinton – precisely the sort of thing that cause most TV viewers to switch to Netflix in a hurry. Or perhaps they believe that even negative publicity (Remember Whitewater? Hillarycare? Monica? Benghazi? The 2008 election?) helps Clinton in 2016 – not exactly a ringing endorsement of the field of would-be Republican candidates.

We’d urge Priebus and Horn to take a deep breath and reconsider.

We understand how easy it is to rally true believers against the media, but does the Republican Party really need this fight? At a time when the party has acknowledged its need to reach out to a younger, broader constituency, stoking conspiracy theories can’t help. It’s quite possible that the GOP candidates for president might actually want to appear on CNN or NBC as a way of reaching beyond their Fox News base. It’s possible that refusing to cooperate with the big networks will keep some would-be voters from learning about the candidates.

It’s a long way to 2016, of course. But as the 2012 Republican race showed us, these elections and especially the primary debates can make great television. It will be in the interest of all the networks to pay attention and give viewers as much information about all the candidates as possible. And if the GOP wants the White House back, it should make that case to the broadest possible audience.

Legacy Comments11

when Hillary's role in the Benghazi arms smuggling and the Ambassadors murder comes out ........her candidacy is toast

Seriously? The Concord Monitor whose mission statement is to actively promote democrats, giving advice to Republicans. Monitor Editorial Board, are you serious? Let’s take the example of extremely biased Candy Crowley as moderator she was far from impartial she clearly did everything she could to sway her moderated debate to Obama’s favor. NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN all do not deserve a debate with a Republican because they can’t hold back their bias. The Republicans should ask Fox News to partner up with Facebook and Twitter to do their debates. Republicans should also consider Telemundo and perhaps PBS as long as the moderator is willing to be “tazed” if he shows favoritism in any way. Now that would be good viewing and could bring in a young audience. I can see the moderator right now saying: “Don’t taze me Bro I only gave Hillary twice as much time to answer her questions and I only helped her 2 or 3 times.” So Jennifer Horn-Thank-you for your support leaving our CNN and NBC, MSNBC but please amend it to exclude CBS and ABC as well.

Correct Van, they count on their readers to be dumb enough to take their word that CNN and NBC are creditable networks and are not biased. Just sit back and wait for the Ode To Hillary to air.

Rabbit, how do you like my idea to bring in a younger audience by having the moderator potentially tazed if they show bias as moderator?

I have no issue with any network airing anything. My comment was that it would be an "Ode To Hillary", and there will be no attention paid to her actual record, except the good things they deem she has accomplished. Clinton and Obama boycotted the debate that was planned on the Fox News Station. That debate never came off. The Reps can do the same thing. Boycott CNN and NBC. The sad thing in my eyes is that we use to count on a news station to give facts, minus opinion and political slant. That is no longer the case. As a result. we are all hard pressed to get info about what the pols stand for. They all double talk and promise the moon.

We have to be more like the democrats if CNN and NBC ran this biased mini-series we need to boycott any sponsor right out of business and let any potential sponsor know that right up front. I will definitely will put my money where my mouth is.

What happened to all that Corporations are citizens with free speech and the freedom to give money to politicians for advertizing (not that I actually agree with it). These corporations are just expressing their freedom of speech. GOP is all for it when they are getting the bucks and advertisement but if they are getting out done then cries of foul play are heard. GOP should pick their candidate and make a movie of their own. Trying to stop information to the public will backfire and then that too will be used against them. The GOP gives the impression it is running scared.

Jim, the GOP is sick and tired of liberal media bias nothing more nothing less. Was Obama and Hillary running scared when they avoided the Fox News Debate in the 2008 primary season?

I would put a wager that CNN or NBC will come forward with a gushy love letter. Both their political donations and coverage of Democratic politicians pretty much allow for most of us to figure out what these projects will look like. We are know seeing that the media wants the first woman President. Not the best candidate, but a woman President. The CM knows this, and this editorial says nothing about unbiased reporting. If your looking for facts, straight talk, and excellent journalism, look elsewhere, These two projects will be fluff, and try their best to present Clinton as the next American Idol President.

Speaking love afair. Marland time to update your 1990's version of Hillary. Time to add a lot more grey hairs, wrinkles and saggy jowls.

'Cuz her appearance is the most important to focus on when evaluating a female candidate, right?

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