David Brock, founder of the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America, has sided with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in his call for CNN and NBC to cancel their planned special productions based on the life of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Given that this project could coincide with a potential Clinton campaign," Brock wrote in separate letters to the heads of NBC's entertainment division and CNN, "the timing raises too many questions about fairness and conflicts of interest ahead of the 2016 election."
On Monday Priebus threatened to boycott both outlets from participating in any 2016 Republican primary debates if they didn't cancel their specials. CNN has planned a documentary while NBC announced a four-hour miniseries. Both would air ahead of the 2016 election.
And on Tuesday, Priebus doubled down on the threat. "My guess is this is exactly what’s going to happen: They will produce the films, and we will cut them out,” he told the Washington Post.
Media Matters published a blog post last week specifically targeting NBC. The post said at the time:
As Fox News suggested, will airing a Clinton miniseries pressure NBC to provide equal time to other presidential candidates? [NBC Entertainment chairman Bob] Greenblatt attempted to pre-emptively take the wind out of this criticism by noting that the network hopes to air the miniseries before any formal declaration of a Clinton candidacy. According to Greenblatt, this broadcast schedule would avoid the equal time problem. But he’s arguing a technicality — clearly the network is already presuming Clinton will be in the race. Is the network prepared to respond to the equal time criticism and deal with the conflict of interest, even in the absence of evidence to support the conclusion?
CNN responded to the criticism with a statement. "Instead of making premature decisions about a project that is in the very early stages of development and months from completion," it said, "we would encourage the members of the Republican National Committee to reserve judgment until they know more."
Read Brock's full letters to NBC and CNN below: