MEDIA
08/05/2013 01:09 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2013

CNN, NBC's Hillary Clinton Programs Already Causing Them Trouble

When CNN and NBC announced that they were making, respectively, a documentary and a mini-series about Hillary Clinton, people within their own networks predicted that it would cause them some trouble.

On Monday, both channels got a taste of what that trouble might look like when Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, threatened to boycott them during the 2016 debate season unless they canceled the films.

It was an audacious request, especially since the programs will air long before debates were even to begin. CNN has said its documentary will not be a puff piece, and NBC News is not involved in any way with that network's series. Priebus, though, signaled that Republicans will not be prepared to accept that narrative, which could make the programs a continued headache as the years go by.

Time's Zeke Miller had another theory about the motives behind Priebus's stunt: that he was trying to drum up support for a major reform of the party's widely derided debate process.

Television networks, including CNN, loved the fact that every random and extremely quotable 2012 Republican fringe candidate got extensive airtime on their channels. GOP leaders, though, were a bit more concerned. Just after losing the election, Mitt Romney declared that the debates had been "nuts," and painted the networks as "liberals beating the heck out of us."

Intriguingly, Romney also singled out NBC and CNN as the chief targets of his ire.

"[The GOP should] agree that we're gonna do, you know, I don't know, eight debates, and we're gonna, we're gonna do one a month, and we're gonna pick stations that are reasonable, it's not all gonna be done by CNN and NBC," he said.

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