NBC’s miniseries on Hillary Clinton’s life may not have a script yet but its plot twists keep on coming. The New York Times reports today that NBC has entered preliminary talks with Fox Television Studios to produce the controversial project (which has been denounced not only by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus but also NBC News luminaries Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell).
That would a fun, Hollywood-style twist, wouldn’t it? Recall that the RNC’s Priebus has threatened to boycott NBC and CNN (which is producing a documentary about Mrs. Clinton) if they go ahead with what the GOP views as pro-Clinton propaganda (despite the current absence of things like scripts) aimed at befriending the presidential frontrunner or perhaps even cementing her status as president-in-waiting. The RNC won’t cooperate with the two media companies on things like hosting 2016 presidential debates, Priebus has said, unless NBC and CNN bend to the party’s programming demands.
As I argued earlier in the week, the GOP’s problem here isn’t a vast media conspiracy but rather the free market: If NBC and CNN go ahead with their respective projects it’ll be less about helping Hillary than about helping their own bottom lines. If there’s a market for Hillary-related programming, after all, who are the allegedly free-market Republicans to complain?
So the potential involvement of Fox Television, a sister company to Fox News Channel, the unofficial cable news mouthpiece of the conservative movement, would just add a fun new wrinkle to the whole affair. Is the RNC prepared to cut Fox out of the 2016 debate game? Sure, Fox Television is a separate creature from Fox News, but so too is there a firewall between NBC Entertainment and NBC News. If you’re going to boycott the goose, after all, you’ve got to boycott the gander. Well, you do if you wish to maintain a level of intellectual honesty – which is always in short supply in Washington, D.C.
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