Sending a Message to the Liberal Media

The RNC will no longer allow Democratic operatives to drive Republican debates.

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and other Republicans say the party's presidential candidates in 2016 "won't be able going to get a real debate of substance if it's run by a network who wants to help out Hillary Clinton."

The members of the Republican National Committee voted unanimously Friday at its meeting in Boston to back up Chairman Reince Preibus' threat that the party would not work with either the National Broadcasting Company or the Cable News Network should either go ahead with plans to air hagiographic programming about former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Democratic Party.]

The resolution read as follows:

WHEREAS, former Secretary Hillary Clinton is likely to run for President in 2016, and CNN and NBC have both announced programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton; and

WHEREAS, these programming decisions are an attempt to show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election; and

WHEREAS, airing this programming will jeopardize will the credibility of CNN and NBC as supposedly unbiased news networks and undermine the perceived objectivity of the coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign by these networks; and

WHEREAS, Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, contributed the maximum amount to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign committee, contributed $25,000 to Obama's 2012 Victory Fund, and this year contributed $10,000 to the Democratic National Committee; therefore be it –

RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee calls on CNN and NBC to cancel the airing of these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that if CNN and NBC continue to move forward with this and other such programming, the Republican National Committee will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor, and, be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee shall 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.

Party activists welcome the push back because, as silly as it seems, it lays down a marker for a new relationship between the Republicans and the television news networks, whose personnel is routinely populated by former Democratic political operatives and staffers like Lawrence O'Donnell, Paul Begala, Chris Matthews and George Stephanopoulos, who famously asked the GOP candidates in 2008 to discuss their support for making the sale of birth control illegal.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Will the Benghazi Attacks Tarnish Hillary Clinton's Legacy as Secretary of State?]

The RNC's point – and it's a good one – is that having political operatives who used to work for Bill Clinton question the GOP candidates in 2016 when Hillary Clinton is widely expected to be a candidate herself is a clear and convincing conflict of interest above and beyond the usual bias. Most liberal commentators have dismissed this as a non-issue, but these same people would be the first to complain if the moderators for the upcoming Democratic presidential primary debates turned out to be Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Thomas Sowell and me.

Moreover, folks like Stephanopoulos are boring and don't ask questions that are of interest to Republican primary voters. For them, every third question to a Republican is about abortion – which is an important issue – while few if any are asked about right-to-work, home schooling, the role of faith in public policy, privatization or any of the dozen or so other issues that move votes for the GOP to which Democrats are adamantly opposed. Nobody ever asks a Democratic presidential candidate to defend the pro-choice position, so why are the debate moderators always asking Republicans to make the case for the pro-life one?

No matter what effect the RNC resolution has on the debates, it will help rally the base and unify the party against what uncharitably can be called "a common enemy." The national networks' news divisions are, by and large, unfair to the Republicans and the GOP is saying "No. more."

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