If you’re studying to be a political strategist, this is a great lesson in what not to do. Let’s say your party is bleeding voting blocs and you need to reach more people. Would you a) Tone down the hate rhetoric, reach out to voting blocs, and try to spread your message to more people, like say, via televised debates on a major network? Or would you b) Jack up the hate rhetoric, punch the already insulted voting blocs in the face, and ban one of the three major networks from covering your debates out of a petulant fit that they were also doing a miniseries on a very popular Democrat and former Secretary of State?
If you’re RNC Chair Reince Priebus, whose middle name is not winning, you’d pick B. For good measure, you’d also ban on of the Big Three cable networks, the other one catering to conservatives, because what you need is LESS voters.
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer announced via twitter on Friday that they had passed a unanimous resolution to ban NBC and CNN from covering the 2016 Republican debates:
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) August 16, 2013
Their ban reads via Frank Thorp of NBC:
Text of what RNC will vote on Fri. RE: NBC/CNN GOP primary debates if Hillary programs air: pic.twitter.com/E6fkZgxekN
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC) August 16, 2013
Yes, the Republicans are going to take their debates to a better stage with better moderators, like say, Rush Limbaugh. Oh, wait, he turned them down.
Seeming to not understand the difference between the entertainment and news arms of NBC, Priebus issued a threat – kill the Hillary special or NBC wouldn’t get the Republican primaries. Priebus sent very angry letters to NBC entertainment chair Robert Greenblatt and CNN president Jeff Zucker, but in his letter to Greenblatt, Priebus stamped his feet over Comcast’s David Cohen’s political donations to President Obama.
After receiving the letters, but prior to today’s tantrum, NBC shrugged, explaining the difference (see Fox Entertainment versus Fox “News”) between the two arms to no avail. Priebus was in full poutrage mode. CNN didn’t care much either, but they noted wryly that this decision to not participate would hurt the voters, and they found that “curious”. Indeed. Maybe CNN hasn’t been paying attention to the Republican Party’s modus operandi. Hurting the voters is what they do.
Priebus is trying to teach NBC and CNN not to tread on the GOP: Give Hillary Clinton any attention other than bogus Bengazi lies and you will pay. This is how Republicans are used to treating the media, but it backfired this time.
The real takeaway here is that the media just spit in the face of Republican bullying and took back a teeny bit of their power.
Sure, NBC and CNN will miss out on the entertainment that the Republican circus has already proven to be. Americans love comedy but they love watching people fall on their faces even more. Given them both at the same time and they’ll be yours. No, they won’t vote for you, but they’ll love to hate you.
Maybe Republicans can get their Obama impersonating Minstrel Rodeo Clown to moderate with taxpayer dollars. That ought to keep the Tea Party base glued to their tee-vees. I hear he’s been invited to Texas by yet another Republican small tenter, but surely he can make time to properly pay homage to the party who brought him to the dance.
The Republican Party has just figured out how to make their tent even smaller, and that’s saying something with their party identification hovering in the low twenties. Self-defeating much? Then again, maybe their best hope is hiding their candidates from the people.
Image: Twitter Epic GOP Fail