RNC chair: I want debate moderators invested in GOP’s future

Updated
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Saturday, June 18, 2011.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Saturday, June 18, 2011.
Patrick Semansky/AP

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has protested NBC Entertainment’s decision to produce a miniseries, “Hillary,” about former Secretary of State Clinton, saying that if any part of NBC produced such a film, he wouldn’t allow Republican primary debates to happen on the network’s news channel. And yet, co-host Mika Brzezinski pointed out, Priebus appeared on Morning Joe Thursday.
“I came on because you’ve had me on many times in the past and because you’ve been fair,”  Priebus answered.
Since NBC and CNN announced in late July that they would both produce specials on Hillary Clinton, Priebus has accused both networks of trying to “put a thumb on the scales” for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
“You expected an honest and fair conversation here, even though we’re a part of NBC. So you understand there’s a difference?” Brzezinski asked.
Priebus said that Morning Joe has been fair to the Republican National Committee in the past, “but I’m not going to have you moderate the Republican debates in our primary because you’re not actually interested in the future of the Republican party and in our nominees.”
“I have to choose moderators who are actually interested in the Republican party,” he said. “I have to set a debate calender that has the best interest of our candidates,” Priebus said. “It makes my choice of moderators much easier.”
The NBC statement responding to the critiques noted that the entertainment side “has nothing to do with the NBC News division,” but Priebus continued to push back.
“I don’t think there’s a real difference, I think people see NBC,” Priebus said. “I have to tell you, there are times when decisions are made by NBC, whether it be News or Entertainment, that are going to have an effect on the overall brand.”
“They know darn well that what they’re going to do is going to have an effect on the election,” he continued. “I can’t have companies in the business of making what I believe to be promotional movies…and then have those same people depose the people running for president on the Republican side of the aisle.”

CNN called the threat “premature,” and said that they “encourage the members of the Republican National Committee to reserve judgment until they know more. Should they decide not to participate in debates on CNN, we would find it curious, as limiting their debate participation seems to be the ultimate disservice to voters.”

NBC responded in a statement that the project was in “very early stages.” They added: “The script has not been written nor has it been ordered to production.  It would be premature to draw any conclusions or make any assumptions about it at this time.”

RNC chair: I want debate moderators invested in GOP's future

Updated