Wednesday, August 7, 2013

An Open Letter to NBC Entertainment

 Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment
30 Rockerfeller Center
New York, NY 10020

Dear Mr. Greenblatt:

I am writing you because I am concerned about the your company's decision to air a miniseries promoting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of her likely candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

As an American company, you have every right to air programming of your choice. But as American citizen, certainly you recognize why many are astounded at the actions, which appear to be a major network's thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election. This special treatment is unfair to the candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2016 who might compete against Secretary Clinton (including Vice President Biden, Governors O'Malley, Cuomo, and Hickenlooper; Senator Klobuchar and others) and to the Republican nominee, should Clinton compete in the general election.

There's ample cause for concern. Executives and employees of Comcast, NBC's parent company, have been generous supporters of Democrats and Secretary Clinton. David Cohen, Comcast's EVP, raised over $1.4 million for President Obama's reelection efforts and hosted a fundraiser for the president. Comcast Corp. employees have donated $522,996 to the president and donated $161,640 to Secretary Clinton's previous campaigns.

Your company has expressly stated that your choice to air the miniseries in the near future would avoid concerns of running afoul of equal time election laws. This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate, not to mention a guilty conscience. Liberals complained noisily when Citizens United sought to air a pay-per-view documentary on Hillary Clinton prior to the 2008 election, and yet they are conspicuously silent now that NBC is launching a miniseries on network television.

I find this disturbing and disappointing. NBC cannot purport to be a neutral party in American politics, and the credibility of NBC News, already damaged by the partisanship of MSNBC, will be further undermined by the actions of NBC Universal executives who have taken it upon themselves to produce an extended commercial for Secretary Clinton's nascent campaign.

Secretary Clinton has been in the public eye for well over two decades, so you certainly cannot claim that a series about her political career is any sort of public service or information docudrama on an unknown individual. Quite the opposite is true: it would be most accurately described as an in-kind donation.

Out of a sense of fairness and decency and in the interest of the political process and your company's reputation, I would recommend that you cancel this political ad masquerading as an unbiased production.

NBC would hardly be able to be considered an unbiased partner in any national debates of any of the candidates for national office after taking part in this in-kind donation of a political ad. It would be unrealistic to think that the populous will be able to determine if there is any separation between NBC Entertainment's view and the NBC New's and therefore see the obvious bias of the network.


Steven E Potts

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