New reports indicate that Fox News' sister company is no longer in talks to produce a controversial miniseries on Hillary Clinton, a move that takes pressure off the Republican Party as it moved to boycott NBC and CNN -- but not Fox -- for their involvement with Clinton-related projects.
Last month NBC Entertainment and CNN Films each announced intentions to produce biopics on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton timed to precede the 2016 presidential race. Though both outlets claim their network's news division will not be involved in the effort, the proposed specials have raised concerns about the obvious conflicts of interest for NBC's and CNN's parent companies, and their news divisions' ability to report objectively in the event of a 2016 Clinton presidential campaign. Journalists from both NBC News and CNN News have publicly worried that the specials will damage their news divisions' reputations, and both Media Matters founder David Brock and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus called on the outlets to cancel the plans.
Priebus even threatened to ban NBC and CNN from hosting GOP primary debates during the 2016 presidential election cycle -- a threat the RNC ultimately fulfilled when it voted this week to exclude the networks if they "continue to move forward" with their Clinton projects. Priebus explained his thinking to Fox News on August 6, saying it's "ridiculous" to allow "moderators who are not serving the best interests of the candidates."
Given that Preibus wants moderators who serve the "best interest" of the GOP, it was unsurprising that days later when the New York Times reported Fox News sister company Fox Television Studios might produce NBC's Clinton biopic, Priebus refused to extend his boycott threat to Fox News. Responding to State of the Union host Candy Crowley's question as to whether Fox's news division will "be subject to the same kind of scrutiny" he applied to CNN and NBC news divisions over the plans of their sister companies, Priebus claimed he was only "going to boycott the company that puts the miniseries and the documentaries on the air for the American people to view."
Priebus' exemption for Fox News was met with cries of hypocrisy from CNN and NBC, but predictably, not from Fox, which neglected to even bring up the issue during an August 16 interview with Priebus about the NBC/CNN boycott. Fox News, of course, has habitually championed Republican policies and talking points, given extra airtime to GOP hearings while granting minimal airtime to President Obama's speeches, and crafted slogans and ads for Republican candidates. Over 30 Fox hosts and contributors have even openly campaigned for Republican candidates.
And now, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Fox Television Studios is no longer considering producing NBC's Clinton miniseries. An August 16 New York Times report cited an unnamed Fox Television Studios executive denying that "political pressure" was a factor in the decision. "Rather, the executive said, the financial terms being offered by NBC simply were not attractive enough to Fox."