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This Ain't Their First Rodeo: The Two Other Times The RNC Threatened NBC

AP Photo / Ben Margot

The RNC chair sent similar letters to both NBC and CNN in August 2013 demanding that the networks drop planned film projects about Hillary Clinton or else lose their partnerships with the committee for debates in 2016. Priebus argued those productions were a "thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election."

After the networks ignored Priebus' demand, the committee passed a resolution barring the networks from holding 2016 debates. NBC ended up canceling its planned miniseries on Clinton a month later.

Then MSNBC drew Priebus' ire with a tweet about a commercial that aired during the 2014 Super Bowl. "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” the offending tweet read. Priebus informed MSNBC that no RNC staff would appear on the network until president Phil Griffin personally apologized. Griffin obliged, the staffer responsible for the tweet was fired and the organizations resumed their relationship.

NBC has said this time around that it plans to "work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party." That gives the network roughly three months to get back in Priebus' good graces before the scheduled Feb. 26 debate or else leave the event in the hands of the National Review.

This post has been updated.

About The Author


Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at