ABC Mocks 'Rattled' GOP for Objecting to Planned Hillary Clinton Miniseries

Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Tuesday made no effort to hide her bias, mocking Republicans who object to planned Hillary Clinton TV movies. On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford insisted that actress Diane Lane, who will be playing Clinton in a NBC miniseries, brings "the glitz and glamour of Hollywood" to the portrayal of the former Secretary of State. The Today show described the projects as a "boost" for the Democrat.

But it was ABC's Shipman who thrilled that "even as the uncandidate, Hillary Clinton dominates the air waves with her every move." Describing the GOP response, Shipman derided, "Enough, say rattled Republicans, who call the projects political ads."   [See video below. MP3 audio here.]  

The media uproar began when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared that the GOP would not award 2016 debates to CNN and NBC, should they go forward with the projects. (CNN's version will be a full length documentary.)

Shipman flatly defended her rival news outlets, proclaiming, "...Since neither of these is a political ad, both projects will no doubt dwell heavily on the more scandalous aspects of the Hillary Clinton story."

Does that seem likely? If Shipman is any indicator, the answer is probably no. On January 18, 2007, previewing the Democratic primary, the journalist described it as a fight between Clinton's "hot factor" and Barack Obama's "fluid poetry."

Shipman's husband, it should be pointed out, is Jay Carney, Obama's White House press secretary.

On CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose at least defined what this is really about, noting that "Republicans are claiming media bias."

Reporter Jan Crawford saw ulterior motives, needling, "Now critics are calling Priebus' move a publicity stunt. And they say he's just trying to rally the Republican base and raise money from people who don't like Hillary Clinton."

Only NBC's Today highlighted unhappiness by the Clintons. Peter Alexander noted, "One source close to Clinton telling NBC News, 'The RNC and HRC can't even agree that the sun rose this morning, so doing so here should really give CNN and NBC pause before moving forward on these ill-conceived projects.'"

Update: [An earlier version of this article suggested that Claire Shipman said "rabble Republicans." A closer analysis indicates she said "rattled Republicans."] 

[Thanks to MRC intern Andrew Lautz for the transcript.]

A transcript of the August 6 segment is below:


7:16

JOSH ELLIOT: Well, I have a story that, certainly, Bezos’s new newspaper [The Washington Post] is indeed covering. The uproar over planned television programs about Hillary Clinton. Republicans are now threatening retaliation against two networks, claiming the air time amounts to campaign ads for the potential 2016 presidential candidate. ABC’s Claire Shipman now joins us from Washington with that story. Good morning, Claire.

CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Good morning, Josh. Complaints about air time already? And you will see threats about debate access. It does sound as though the campaign's already under way. Even as the uncandidate, Hillary Clinton dominates the air waves with her every move.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hillary Clinton Movie Uproar: Boycott Threat Over Bio Project]

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS [archival footage]: We’re going to turn now to a power lunch at the White House today...fueling more speculation that she will run in 2016.

SHIPMAN: But plans for a four-part miniseries about her life, starring Diane Lane, and for a feature-length documentary on CNN? Enough, say rattled Republicans, who call the projects political ads.

RNC CHAIR REINCE PRIEBUS: If you move forward, we’re done. We're done playing in the sandbox and going through this song and dance, as if everything's hunky dory. It’s not.

SHIPMAN: The RNC told both networks they will host no primary debates if the projects are aired.

PRIEBUS: I'm not going to expose our candidates to this kind of treatment.

SHIPMAN: Neither network seems inclined to pull the plug, though. NBC has said the miniseries will air before the heat of the campaign, sometime in 2015, and notes "NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in the project." The CNN project is slated to air in 2014. And a CNN statement asks that the "RNC reserve judgment until they know more," adding, "should they decide not to participate in the debates on CNN, we would find it curious, as limiting their debate participation seems to be the ultimate disservice to voters."

And the irony, Josh and Robin, is since neither of these is a political ad, both projects will no doubt dwell heavily on the more scandalous aspects of the Hillary Clinton story – which is something any political campaign, no doubt, want to avoid.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Good point there, Claire. Good to see you.

ELLIOT: Thank you, Claire. No doubt, viewers will be then tuning in.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org