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Head of RNC tries to bully media

August 7, 2013

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus discusses the 2012 election at the National Press Club in March

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus discusses the 2012 election at the National Press Club in March

Editor’s note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the editor of the politics blog The Dean’s Report. Follow him on Twitter @deanofcomedy.

(CNN) — How can the leader of the Republican Party — the political party that claims to be so concerned about our freedoms — want to limit freedom of the press?

It’s shocking, but that’s exactly what Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wants to do. Why? Because Priebus is outraged that NBC and CNN are developing TV projects about Hillary Clinton, scheduled to air in 2015.

Apparently, Priebus thinks most Americans have never heard of this Hillary Clinton person. Consequently, he fears that these TV shows could make her a household name — almost as well-known as say, Bill Clinton.

So what did he do? He sent threatening letters to the heads of NBC and CNN, informing them that “if you have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC’s summer meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote of the RNC stating that the committee will neither partner with you in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates which you sponsor.”

Bottom line: Priebus is telling media outlets that if they broadcast content that the Republican Party does not like, it will freeze those networks out of the 2016 GOP presidential debates.

This is the same Priebus who wrote an article denouncing President Barack Obama for what Priebus called his attack on American freedoms. And it was Priebus who, during the 2012 presidential election, predicted that if Obama were re-elected, he would destroy our “way of life in America” and that “Mitt Romney has to win for liberty and freedom.”

Let’s make one thing very clear: The RNC is not just another run-of-the-mill organization threatening a boycott over media content. The RNC includes elected officials from across the nation, from governors to state officials to hundreds of members of Congress.

 Will the next threat be that the RNC will block interviews with Republican officials if it objects to a newspaper, website or network’s content? Or will some outlets be subject to greater fines for Federal Communications Commission violations or be kept from offering input on proposed federal regulations that affect the media?

We cannot allow the freedom of our media to be politicized.  Read more in CNN.

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From → Analysis, Commentary

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