If you have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC's Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote of the RNC stating that the committee will neither partner with you in the 2016 primary debate no sanction primary debates which you sponsor.It turns out that NBC is not alone. Priebus is also angry at CNN for planning a documentary on Clinton. So, naturally, he made the same threat to CNN President Jeff Zucker, using the exact same language.
Obviously, this is just the same old Republican tactic of picking a fight with the "libruhl media." It's meant to fire up their base, and maybe, if they're lucky, to get CNN or NBC to cave, giving Republicans a victory to brag about.
But this time there's a wrinkle: Priebus has linked the GOP's 2016 primary debate calendar to the outcome of the battle—and he's set a very short timeline for action. Assuming that the networks don't cave—and with just nine days before Priebus's Aug. 14 deadline, it seems unlikely that they will—then the RNC is on the verge of making Fox News its only cable TV debate partner for 2016.
That would be a pretty big change from 2012, when CNN and NBC (and its related properties) sponsored 11 of the 20 debates. Fox sponsored five of the remaining nine. Now, if the RNC follows through on its threat, Fox will certainly have more of the debates, even if there are fewer of them overall.
I guess this means that the GOP's "rebranding" initiative is all but dead. Instead of trying to put a fresh face forward, they're ripping a page from their old and tired chip-on-the-shoulder playbook. And instead of trying to reach out to seek new support, they're going to ban NBC and CNN from hosting debates in order to spend more time hanging out on Fox.
So if you thought that maybe 2013 was the year the GOP fever was going to break, you're out of luck. But hey, maybe when they've lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections, they'll finally get a clue that something needs change. Right?