Charles Ferguson, the filmmaker who was tasked with creating a documentary on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for CNN, announced Monday that he was terminating the project.
Ferguson made the announcement in a blog post for the Huffington Post:
After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud. And so I’m cancelling. (Not because of any pressure from CNN — quite the contrary.) It’s a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have now become. But I don’t think that it’s a victory for the media, or for the American people. I still believe that Mrs. Clinton has many virtues including great intelligence, fortitude, and a deep commitment to bettering the lives of women and children worldwide. But this is not her finest hour.
In the blog post, Ferguson, who won an Academy Award in 2007 for a documentary about the war in Iraq, said he faced opposition from Republicans, Democrats and Clinton staffers in trying to create the special.
“When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film,” Ferguson wrote. “Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration.”
A CNN spokesperson told TheBlaze that CNN “was excited to be working with [Ferguson], but we understand and respect his decision.”
Both CNN and NBC Entertainment announced over the summer that they were planning separate productions based on Clinton’s life. The Republican National Committee responded by voting to ban both networks from participating in the 2016 Republican primary debates if the productions moved forward.
David Brock, founder of the liberal Media Matters for America, penned letters to both CNN and NBC calling on them to cancel the projects.
“We’re gratified that Charles Ferguson did the right thing by backing out of pursuing a project that posed a serious conflict of interest for CNN,” Brock said in a statement. “His distorted and self-serving account, in which he reveals his anti-Clinton animus, only confirms that our assessment of this film was correct. The threat of misinformation was too high.”
The RNC did not immediately return request for comment from TheBlaze.
A report by Bloomerg News also said Clinton aides worried the specials would be unflattering.
NBC has now cancelled its own plans for a Hillary documentary. The Associated Press reports:
NBC said it was pulling the plug on a planned four-hour miniseries on the Democratic former first lady and secretary of state. “Hillary,” which was to star Diane Lane in the feature role and appear before the 2016 election, was the target of external protests and internal unhappiness at NBC.
NBC Entertainment issued a statement saying that “after reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie and miniseries development, we’ve decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton miniseries.” The statement gave no reason for the change, and spokesman Richard Licata did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The announcement by NBC’s entertainment division this summer that it was making “Hillary” took people in the network’s news division by surprise. They were concerned that the news division would be blamed if the entertainment series took liberties with facts or leaned too far in making a positive or a negative portrayal of Clinton.
NBC News Washington correspondents Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell made their unease about the miniseries public.
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