The Republican National Committee (RNC) finally found a way to push back against the liberal mainstream media without looking too petulant to the average American. CNN and NBC announced plans to run a documentary and mini-series, respectively, on the life and times of former Secretary of State, failed Presidential Candidate, carpet-bagging Senator, scandal-ruined first lady and lately object of much affection for the mainstream media, Hillary Clinton, in late July. On Aug. 5th, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus jumped at his chance to reassert some RNC control over the often-messy primary debate process and stick it to the mainstream media. “It’s appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives.
Their actions to promote secretary Clinton are disturbing and disappointing,” Priebus said in an RNC press release, with letters to executives at NBC and CNN attached making the party’s plans clear-either stop production, or pre-production as the networks have now said, on the Hillary propaganda or lose out on the chance to host any GOP primary debates. Both networks have reacted with some surprise, given how early they both are in the execution of the programming in question and how soon Priebus is asking them to pull the programs by, an Aug. 16th RNC meeting in Boston.
But the appointed date came, and with much joy to the GOP grassroots and most of the establishment, the committee approved a resolution making good on the Chairman’s promise-NBC and CNN will not host any officially sanctioned GOP Presidential Primary debates. The move has been praised nearly universally as “savvy” by close observers of political media, especially since NBC’s argument against Priebus boils down to a highly important distinction of which the average viewer of the peacock has nary an idea. It is as follows, NBC entertainment and news are completely different, sectioned off entities within NBC’s corporate structure; the mini-series has nothing to do with the news division’s coverage. Well bully for you, NBC, thanks for the lecture on the nature of major media corporation’s structure.
Now as Priebus often does in interviews, let’s talk about how the average person sees this distinction. At 6:30 p.m., they might watch the relatively down the middle “Nightly News with Brian Williams”, eat dinner, get on with their lives and then flip on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” as they drift off into dream land with the stresses of daily life weighing on their mind.
Does this person really make a strong distinction between the internal distinction and wall of separation between these two programs? I’d say they just see that multi-colored peacock and call it a day, a sentiment echoed by NBC’s own political director, Chuck Todd. And when a TV show is on in prime time giving positive coverage to Hillary Clinton, that reflects on the brand as a whole.
It doesn’t matter which executive oversees the production. CNN’s argument, while less elitist, is much more pathetic. They say, in short, “it’s just a documentary!” You know, kind of like the documentaries mainstream press entities have been refusing to show at party conventions for the last 25 some odd years.
Including the deeply humanizing and truly moving piece on Mitt Romney shown on CSPAN and CSPAN only last year. Sure the argument is weak, but then again, CNN doesn’t exactly boast a history of playing it fair and balanced when it comes to their political coverage, so what should Republicans expect?
But herein lies the genius in Priebus’s move. We Republicans for years have just looked plain whiny when complaining about deeply biased media coverage in the abstract. And the argument mainly becomes that the Washington press corps, who back in the 90s outed themselves as overwhelmingly liberal Democrats (after this statistic’s ad-naseum citation in the years following, I guess they decided to no longer admit such things). But now, there’s a concrete institutional bias to point toward.
We all have always known the press is biased, but now these companies are giving up the game. No longer must we search for small biases in the news stories or TV packages or by the headline writers – although we’ll probably complain about that still. Two major American television news institutions are working on films that will clearly devolve into promotional material for a Democrat who the New York Times public editor recently deemed, “as close as we have to an incumbent heading into 2016.” We can all admit that’s much more powerful than a skewed headline, or Today’s decision to cover Representative Steve King’s idiotic comments on immigration reform
But really, who can blame our dear friends in Washington? It’s clear they can’t contain their glee at the prospect of a third Clinton term. Bill is so charming as first husband/ex-president (seriously, what will they call him?)! Redemption for Hillary! The stories write themselves; liberal and lazy-just like far too many media elites like it.
The funny thing about all of this is the networks are just (chasing?) after ratings. They honestly think 18-49 year olds in the Midwest that buy the products advertised on both CNN and NBC will just love the Hillary story two years before her final lurch toward power for power’s sake. She’s originally from Illinois, right? It’s all pretty laughable, but that’s the nature of our self-righteous and self-promoting media environment.