WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee voted Friday to boycott CNN and NBC if the networks produce films on Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is seen as the Democratic Party's strongest potential contender for the 2016 presidential election.
Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman and a vocal opponent of the two films, said the party is "done putting up with this nonsense."
"There are plenty of other news outlets. We'll still reach voters, maybe more voters. CNN and NBC anchors will just have to watch on their competitors' networks," he told RNC members during their summer meeting in Boston. "The media overplayed their hand this time."
During the last presidential primary, the GOP held 20 debates, seven of which were sponsored by CNN and four of which were sponsored by NBC News or affiliated networks.
Both networks have defended their projects. CNN's documentary, commissioned by its films division, is expected to debut in theaters next year before airing on the network.
"Instead of making premature decisions about a project that is in the very early stages of development and months from completion, we would encourage the members of the Republican National Committee to reserve judgment until they know more," CNN said in a statement prior to the vote.
NBC's miniseries about the former first lady, senator and secretary of State, which tentatively stars Diane Lane as Clinton, is being managed by NBC Entertainment, and the network has stated its news division "has no involvement in this project."
Despite those assertions, Republican leaders enthusiastically resolved to formalize their concerns with the network's films and reform the next round of presidential primary debates.
"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," according to the nonbinding resolution.
In addition to threatening a cessation to the party's cooperation with the two networks, the resolution includes a provision to "bring more order to the primary debates and ensure a reasonable number of debates, appropriate moderators and debate partners are chosen."
The last round of debate moderators included CNN's John King, NBC News' Brian Williams and Fox News' Megyn Kelly, among others.