Priebus Hits a Home Run

Bruce Bialosky

8/18/2013 12:01:00 AM - Bruce Bialosky

Finally the Republicans have someone in charge that is not afraid of his own shadow. Republicans are always cowering to the mainstream press while they mutter about the corrosiveness of it. If he keeps it up, the Republicans might actually win the U.S. Senate in 2014 and the Presidency in 2016. We are referring, of course, to Reince Priebus, Chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

You probably have heard that two television operations announced they were doing projects about Hillary Clinton. NBC has plans to produce and air a four hour mini-series about Hillary Clinton and CNN has plans for a documentary. Diane Lane has been attached to the NBC mini-series to play Ms. Clinton which speaks to the evenhandedness of that program. That is equivalent to a film about my life story with Brad Pitt in the starring role.

In a previous world, we would not even be having this discussion. These projects would never ever have been brought forward because even my dogs know Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016, and the appearance of a potential conflict of interest would be killed by the news divisions. But that does not happen any longer. When CBS’s Les Moonves, head of TV’s most successful network, stated while attending a Barack Obama fundraiser that “ultimately journalism has changed… partisanship is very much a part of journalism now,” why would anyone believe that NBC and CNN would be even-handed?

They have defended their respective decisions by stating that the entertainment departments were planning these programs. NBC can at least attempt this ploy since they have an entertainment division (their ratings for the past decade notwithstanding). CNN, which last time anyone checked, is solely a news network. Their argument is that CNN Films, a division of CNN Worldwide, is doing the film. One wonders if CNN Sports is next.

Fortunately Mr. Priebus saw through this charade and finally drew a line that should have been drawn years ago. Priebus must have been watching in 1992 when Carole Simpson of ABC News hosted a debate that was so slanted against President George H.W. Bush you would have thought she was on the Clinton payroll. He certainly was watching as Candy Crowley of CNN injected herself in the debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney with an absolutely wrong answer regarding what Obama said September 12, 2012, about Benghazi and terrorism, thus ending Romney’s attempt to unsettle Obama on a critical issue.

Priebus came out and stated the obvious; that if these two operations went forth with their Hillary projects the Republicans would not play ball with them during the 2016 election cycle. That means the Republican primary debates would be held on networks other than NBC, MSNBC or CNN. One has to wonder why Republicans would have debates on these networks in the first place -- as if they would be fair and even-handed. Envision Lawrence O’Donnell asking Marco Rubio why his policies encourage the starvation of young children.

When Priebus appeared on Fox News’ Special Report, he misspoke when being interviewed by Bret Baier by stating the RNC would want to approve the moderators for debates. Baier jumped on that, but Priebus is not far off. Maybe the RNC should not approve moderators, but they certainly should be able to veto moderators who they have every reason to believe would be less than fair in critical moments of debates.

Priebus appears to be on firm ground. Chuck Todd of NBC News came out and said that the proposed mini-series would be a nightmare for the news division. Andrea Mitchell followed up criticizing the project. It is nice to see that the network of Huntley, Brinkley, Chancellor and Brokaw still has a modicum of integrity. Unfortunately voices have been silent at CNN. How NBC can go forward with their political reporters in open revolt will be fascinating to watch.

Kudos to Priebus for coming forth and saying we aren’t going to take it any longer. This follows on the heels of some other common-sense decisions that sources say are coming down the pipeline. These decisions include actual full-blown outreach to minorities, moving the national convention to June and limiting the endless string of primary debates to a set number that will only protect all candidates from the supercilious situation that occurred in 2012. Next thing you know, the RNC will be establishing integrated candidate development from the grassroots through the national level – actual cooperation for all levels of the Republican Party.

If the mainstream media revamps how they operate to recognize the new reality that was clearly enunciated by CBS President Les Moonves, then Republicans need to confront that new reality and adjust how they operate. Priebus took the first step and it was a Crush Davis grand slam.