RNC chief doubles down on debate boycott. Smart move for GOP?
CNN and NBC remain in the cross hairs of Republican National Committee chief Reince Priebus, over their plans for programs about Hillary Clinton. His threat to boycott those networks during the GOP presidential debates has its strategic advantages.
Over the weekend Republican National Committee chief Reince Priebus doubled down on his threat to withhold 2016 GOP presidential debates from CNN and NBC if the networks air planned programs on Hillary Rodham Clinton.Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, host Candy Crowley asked Mr. Priebus whether he’d throw Fox News into the debate penalty box as well, given a New York Times report that a Fox sister company is in talks to produce the Hillary Clinton miniseries now slated to appear on NBC.
Priebus made it clear Fox would not be included in any RNC boycott. First of all, he downplayed the Times report, saying he “doesn’t know the truth of anything you’re talking about,” and that “I’m not going to boycott the food trucks that service all of the same companies.”
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Then he said he’s really aiming at the networks that may put Clinton shows on the air, whether the programs are scripted entertainment dramas or news documentaries.
“What channel am I going to tune into to see the documentary and the miniseries that is all about promoting Hillary Clinton? And at this point, it sounds like it’s going to be CNN and NBC. And if that’s the case, they’re not going to be involved in our debates – period,” said Priebus.
Plus, the RNC on Monday started running paid YouTube ads calling on CNN and NBC to “dump the docs or lose debates.”
“It’s basically us putting our money where our mouth is,” an RNC spokesman told Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard.
Priebus took some heat for his “State of the Union” performance from some members of the punditocracy on Monday. They felt the RNC chief appeared taken aback by the Fox News link, as if he hadn’t heard the latest developments.