Barring a dramatic turn of events, today Republican National Committee members will vote to bar CNN and NBC News from sponsoring GOP presidential debates in 2016, in response to a planned CNN documentary and an NBC docudrama on Hillary Clinton. RNC chair Reince Priebus charges that the two works amount to free advertising for the widely expected Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.
This morning Joe Scarborough scoffed, noting that Fox Television Studios is in talks to produce the Hillary mini-series.
But the issue, of course, is not who’s producing it; the issue is the content. A better defense from the networks would be that the documentary and docudrama are still being written and produced, and will aim to represent a broad range of aspects of Clinton’s career in the public eye, and not amount to airbrushed propaganda. Both works could, conceivably, be even-handed — although most directors wouldn’t cast good-looking, glamorous, warm and relatable Diane Lane to play a villainess character like Lady Macbeth.
The notion that Fox Television Studios’ involvement in the production absolves the film of a pro-Hillary bias is pretty laughable. Fox Television Studios’ purpose is entertainment, not journalism. (Note that Fox Television Studios is a distinct entity from Fox Broadcasting Company, the network that airs The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.; both are part of Fox Entertainment Group, which was formerly part of News Corporation.) Fox Television Studios can be called many things, but it can safely be ruled out as part of the vast right-wing conspiracy, with such works as The Shield, Burn Notice, White Collar, the Playboy-affiliated series The Girls Next Door and its spin-offs, the Howard Stern–produced Son of the Beach . . .
Someone out there will probably insist, “Yeah, but Rupert Murdoch controls the whole thing” — a mischaracterization of him being the chairman and CEO of publicly traded company. It’s obvious that Murdoch’s politics don’t influence Fox’s entertainment programming, seen when The Simpsons mocks Fox News . . .
. . . and when Family Guy depicted Nazis walking around with McCain-Palin buttons in an October 2008 episode.