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Monday, September 30, 2013

CNN Cancels Hillary Clinton Documentary: Good or Bad Decision?

CNN is canceling a documentary about Hillary Rodham Clinton after its director withdrew because of push back from the potential 2016 presidential candidate's inner circle and the Republican National Committee.
Director Charles Ferguson wrote in a Huffington Post article that he decided not to go forward because "nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration."
CNN said in a statement Monday that Ferguson "has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton. Charles is an Academy Award-winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision." CNN said it "won't seek other partners and are not proceeding with the film."
Ferguson specifically said he was "interrogated" by Clinton aide Nick Merrill. He also said that Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton adviser, "contacted various people at CNN, interrogated them and expressed concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor."
The filmmaker also cited the RNC's decision to withhold CNN as a potential debate sponsor in 2016 if it went ahead with the project.
"It's a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have now become," Ferguson wrote. "But I don't think that it's a victory for the media, or for the American people."
Asked for a comment on the developments, Merrill e-mailed this statement: "Lights, camera, no reaction."
Now that there is no Clinton documentary on CNN, Republicans say it's time for NBC to cancel its planned miniseries on the former secretary of State, senator and first lady if the network wants to host a 2016 GOP debate. When the RNC voted in the summer to punish CNN for its planned documentary, the GOP did the same to NBC.
"The pressure is now squarely on NBC to cancel its Hillary infomercial," said RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told USA TODAY in August that the Clinton miniseries was in its early stages and that there is no guarantee it will run. The movie is not yet in production, he said, and the script is still being written.

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