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RNC votes to ban primary debates on NBC, CNN

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Aug. 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM   |   Comments

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The Republican National Committee has followed through on chairman Reince Priebus's threat, voting Friday to exclude CNN and NBC from any presidential primary debates in 2016 over plans on both cable networks for Hillary Clinton-centric programming.

The RNC accused the networks of "programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton," that "will jeopardize 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."

CNN planned a documentary about Clinton's life and career to air on television and in theaters and called the RNC's concerns unfounded.

NBC said its four-hour fictionalized miniseries, which will star Diane Lane and may be produced by Fox News's sister company Fox Television studios, would be overseen by the entertainment division, which is entirely separate from its news division.

The Democratic National Committee slammed the decision, calling it the latest in Republican moves that shrink the size of the GOP's big tent.

“It seems that Republicans don’t get it,” DNC press secretary Michael Czin said in a statement. “If they truly want to connect with a broader audience, they need an agenda that fights for the middle class and is inclusive. Sadly, it appears that with today’s vote, their approach is to actually speak to even fewer voters.”

“We’re done putting up with this nonsense,” Priebus said before Friday's vote. “There are plenty of other news outlets, we’ll still reach plenty of voters."

"CNN and NBC anchors will just have to watch on competing networks," he said.

The RNC said CNN and NBC's Clinton programming would serve to just give Clinton extra airtime.

Clinton has yet to say if she plans to make another run at president in three years, but her candidacy is being considered by many as a given.

The former Secretary of State has expanded her speaking schedule since she stepped down from her post in Foggy Bottom, met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, and a SuperPAC working for her candidacy has raised $1 million and gathered nearly 650,000 Facebook fans.

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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