August 16, 2013

A few months ago, the Republican National Committee released its much balleyhooed autopsy into what went wrong in the 2012 election, concluding that the GOP needed a major makeover to improve its appeal to core voter groups it had alienated, in the process impairing its ability to assemble a national majority. Most of the report’s recommendations have gone ignored, and multiple Republicans are now worried that the party’s continued catering to its base will only make things worse among these constituencies — swing voters, Latinos, young voters, etc.

Today, as NBC News reports, the RNC made another major move — one that could have the effect of hiding GOP excesses and extremism from a broader audience:

The GOP’s governing body approved a resolution on Friday barring NBC News and CNN from partnering with the Republican National Committee in hosting 2016 presidential primary debates.

Members of the RNC, gathered in Boston for their Summer Meeting voted to bar NBC News and CNN from participating in 2016 debates due to forthcoming projects about Hillary Clinton planned by both network. They approved the resolution by a voice vote.

The resolution states that the RNC would not “partner with (CNN or NBC) in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor.”

The NBC News report added that the move “represents a bid to build enthusiasm with the conservative grassroots,” which often accuses the “establishment media” of “favoring Democrats in their news coverage.”

As many have already pointed out, this move allows Republicans to play to the base by bashing the hated mainstream media while simultaneously accomplishing a goal it wanted to, anyway: taking greater control of the debate process. The same RNC autopsy mentioned above also lamented that there had been too many debates in 2012, and that this had to change.

And so, it looks as if one of the recommendations in that RNC autopsy has finally been acted on. Only it just happens to be one that is all about (again) playing to the base and encouraging an insular view — that outside news sources offering information that counters what is heard inside the conservative entertainment complex are only out to get Republicans — rather than broadening the party’s appeal. Indeed, though RNC chair Reince Priebus insists GOP debates will still reach as many or more voters, it’s possible this could have the effect of minimizing the exposure of GOP outsized rhetoric and policy to a broader audience.

A win all around!

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.