Heads up: I’m gonna dip into politics here. Please note the exits located fore and aft, and if you feel the need to use them, well I don’t blame you.
A couple of stories out of Washington caught my eye yesterday.
-First up: Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent letters to CNN and NBC News regarding Hillary Clinton projects both networks have in the offering. Priebus took the position that both CNN’s documentary film and NBC’s miniseries about the former Secretary of State would amount to campaign commercials for a candidate that hasn’t even declared her intentions for an election that’s more than three years away at this point. Priebus then tried to persuade the networks to stop work on the projects or be excluded from hosting future Republican primary debates starting with the next Presidential election cycle in 2016. Two things to keep in mind here: CNN has already come out and said that their Clinton documentary will “pull no punches”, and NBC’s miniseries is under the supervision of the network’s entertainment division; NBC News has no connection to it.
-The second bit of news involved Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, which today sought to legitimize itself as a newsgathering organization by establishing a bureau in the nation’s capital. Its first two hires show exactly what line it will tow: Sara Carter, the Senior Washington Correspondent, has done stints at the Washington Examiner (which is co-owned with a Republican reading favorite, The Weekly Standard) and the Washington Times (owned by News World Communications, which is affiliated with the Reverend Sun-Myung Moon’s Unification Church). Fred Lucas, the White House Correspondent, has done time at The Weekly Standard proper, American Spectator, and TownHall magazines. For Lucas, it’ll be a simple matter of switching seats in the Brady Briefing Room; he’s been the White House Correspondent for the Cybercast News Service, which was founded in 1998 as the Conservative News Service by L. Brent Bozell III, who also founded the Media Research Center, whose mission is to “prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values” and to “neutralize [that bias's] impact on the American political scene“.
The way I see it, the GOP wants to have their media coverage both ways: not only do they want to control what established outlets say about anything, but they also want to establish their own outlets to ensure there are plenty of sockpuppets masquerading as journalists to get the talking points out exactly the way they want them put out. The GOP wants their slice of the media cake, and everybody else’s too. Seems like if the GOP had their way completely, there would be government censors in charge of making sure the conservative message is disseminated exactly as ordered, lest it be held back from public consumption. If the Republicans can increase their majorities in the houses of Congress in next year’s mid-term elections, how long will it be until that fantasy becomes reality?