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Hillary Clinton Films That GOP Objected To Are Canceled

Both of the Hillary Clinton biopics that drew protests from the Republican National Committee have now been canceled before even being made.

As we reported in August, the RNC had "unanimously passed a resolution preventing the committee from partnering with CNN and NBC for debates if they don't drop their Hillary Clinton productions ahead of the 2016 presidential election."

The GOP accused the networks of showing "clear favoritism."

NBC was planning to give the former first lady, former secretary of state and potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender a historical-fiction treatment in a mini-series.

CNN was planning a documentary, and the filmmaker it was working with says Republicans weren't the only critics. He also ran into opposition from Clinton's Democratic allies.

The networks said in August that the RNC's objections were unwarranted.

But now, documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson writes at The Huffington Post that he's pulling the plug on the CNN production because:

"When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. 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.

"Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away. I even sensed potential difficulty in licensing archival footage from CBN (Pat Robertson) and from Fox. After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out."

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that:

"NBC, in a statement, said it canceled its mini-series 'after reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/mini-series development.' Several NBC executives denied there had been any pressure from the Clinton side that affected the decision. Nor was the unhappiness of members of NBC's News division a critical factor, they said.

"One senior NBC executive said that NBC did not specifically bow to pressure from either the Republican National Committee or the Clinton camp. But the executive acknowledged that the Clinton project had already generated so much criticism that it was deemed not worth pursuing because it would only invite more as it went into production. The NBC executives would not speak for attribution because the network was limiting comment to its official statement."

The RNC now says that:

"This was only the first step in the Republican Party taking control of our debate process. The purpose of our party's debates is to better inform our grassroots and those participating in Republican primaries and caucuses. Now that CNN and NBC have canceled their Hillary Clinton infomercials, we will work on developing a new debate model that will address the timing, frequency, moderators and venues that will come in the next few months. Any media organization looking to be part of the debate process will have to comply with the new system."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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