There’s actually a legal basis for this, not just party politicking. Networks aren’t supposed to give extra airtime to political candidates, since that would likely benefit one person over another. Anything longer than a commercial isn’t really allowed.
Of course, the problem with this argument is that Hillary Clinton is not a candidate for anything at this time. It’s just presumed by many that she will be the Democratic Presidential candidate in the 2016 race. And the Republicans are planning ahead.
Whether this is legitimate or not — and whether or not this will be followed when primary time comes around — the RNC passed and released a series of resolutions. In effect these resolutions will bar NBC and CNN from coverage of the Republican primary debates, and the GOP will not sanction any debates involving the networks.
While the full set of resolutions was released by RNC staffers, here are some important points:
WHEREAS, former Secretary Hillary Clinton is likely to run for President in 2016, and CNN and NBC have both announced programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton; and
WHEREAS, these programming decisions are an attempt to show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election …
RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee calls on CNN and NBC to cancel the airing of these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that if CNN and NBC continue to move forward with this and other such programming, the Republican National Committee will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor …