Ever since Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threatened to boycott CNN and NBC from participating in the 2016 GOP primary debates -- an answer to CNN and NBC's plans to produce specials about on Hillary Clinton just ahead of the election -- some in the media have called it a ruse, an excuse to limit the debates, thus limiting the damage the candidates can do to each other before the general.
Joy Behar on ABC's "The View" was one of the first to posit the theory. A story in Politico Friday says the same thing:
The RNC’s very vocal outrage over the [CNN and NBC] projects gives party leaders a perfect excuse to do what they’ve long wanted to do anyway: get some control over a process that led to 20 grueling primary debates last cycle ...
The RNC never needed an excuse to limit the number of debates. They were going to do it anyway. A report commissioned by the RNC and released in March said so... From TheBlaze's story on that report:
Among the 98-page report’s proposals were for the RNC to hire National Political Directors for minority voters, establish closer relationships with technology innovators, shorten the number of primary debates (there were 20 in the last Republican presidential primary) and move the party’s national convention up from August to either June or July.
Priebus gave a presentation on that report in a televised press conference at the National Press Club. "With an eye toward the recommendations [in the report], the RNC will create a system that sets earlier guidelines for a more rational number of debates," Priebus said at the time. "We will take a leading role in organizing the debates--and will work with state parties and our Rules Committee to ensure balance in every aspect."
So, let's chuck the idea that the boycott is simply a means to an end. Limiting the number of debates would have happened with or without the boycott.
The RNC votes on the resolution to bar CNN and NBC Friday.