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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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August 6, 2013 - 9:07 am

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the party has to “control the referees that we bring into our playground” — the Republican primary debates ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Those referees, he says, shouldn’t be producing documentaries hailing Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, while they’re also orchestrating debates among Republicans.

“I’m not going to sit around and let this happen anymore,” he said. The Republican National Committee has announced it will not allow CNN and NBC to hold primary debates unless the networks pulls their production of films they’re planning about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. “It doesn’t matter if the films are love letters to Hillary,” Priebus said, because, regardless, the networks aren’t ”in the business of doing anything but promoting the Democratic party​” (host Sean Hannity had contended the productions would indeed be “love letters”).

Priebus argued that he’s simply doing the same thing to manage his party’s brand that the DNC did when it prevented Fox News from holding a 2008 debate, and lamented how the 2012 Republican-primary debates had gone. The candidates were faced, he said, with “a bunch of moderators who are in the business of making news at the expense of our party and candidates” by presenting “ridiculous hypotheticals that are never going to be reality,” meaning the candidates ultimately “sliced and diced each other.”

The case against CNN and MSNBC is stronger than Preibus even says. Both networks are set to produce and air what will probably amount to hagiographies of Hillary Clinton. To the extent that they’ll cover any of her scandals — Whitewater, Vince Foster, the travel office firings, Benghazi, “sniper fire” and on and on — they’ll probably cover them from her point of view. In 2008, when the DNC banned Fox from hosting debates, there was no single cause. The Democrats acted out of blanket ideological hostility to the network. Really, they simply feared that the network’s moderators would ask them pointed questions that hosts from the other cable nets would avoid. So they avoided Fox and got away with it.

The problem for the Republicans, as always, is what the rest of the media will do if the RNC actually bans any networks. The Democrats largely got a pass from the media. There were objections from quarters outside Fox, but they weren’t sustained. Republicans can expect to take a beating on both CNN and MSNBC, the latter mattering little as its audience shrinks and becomes a self-selecting slice of the hard left. But the New York Times, Bezos Post, and the rest of the drive-by media will hammer the Republicans relentlessly. Count on that.

As long as the RNC is ready for that reality, banning networks that intend to promote the Democrats’ likely candidate ahead of the election makes sense. It would be foolish to pretend that the “documentaries” don’t have a purpose and won’t make a difference.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
i'm tired of this already. here is my suggestion:

have the debates on CSPAN. have three moderators. each side submits a slate of three, three weeks in advance. viewers pick one from each slate. then each side picks one of their remaining candidates and the viewers pick one in a runoff.

i would nominate krauthammer, sowell and VDH for the repubs.

but that's just my opinion
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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It's a step in the right direction, Rinse....Now if you could just get McConnell and Boehner to get tough on Benghazi, IRS, NSA, etc... we might start something. How about an 8 hour miniseries on the crimes committed by this lawless regime from Fast and Furious all the way to today? At least the bullet points...

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
After the fraud NBC perpetrated with the Zimmerman 911 call, NBC should be formally banned for at least one election cycle.

And cite, in plain English, the reason.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
About two elections too late. but better late than never.

Now if we could get the POTUS candidate to take the same attitude towards the liberal media. Demand fair coverage, or at least demand that the debate moderators won't jump in and help the Dem candidate lie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
About time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If Hannity and the RNC had any brains, they'd do a whole hour with Canadian and U.K. lawyers showing how MSNBC could be sued for racial incitement and defamation around the world and Fox could not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
i'm tired of this already. here is my suggestion:

have the debates on CSPAN. have three moderators. each side submits a slate of three, three weeks in advance. viewers pick one from each slate. then each side picks one of their remaining candidates and the viewers pick one in a runoff.

i would nominate krauthammer, sowell and VDH for the repubs.

but that's just my opinion
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just have the RNC work to break the MSM monopoly on political coverage. Ignore the major cable networks altogether and have the primary debates moderated by new media. Redstate, Hot Air, Drudge, PJ Media (the idea of Stephen Green as moderator/drunkblogger appeals to me greatly), etc.

For the presidential debates, have each moderator chosen by the highest rated cable news channel, broadcast network news, newspaper, and political website.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I like it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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