[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hey’re having a bad time of it down at the White House right now, but there’s been more stuff and nonsense with the cancellation of two TV projects on Hillary Clinton.
First on the scrapheap was a feature film, a CNN vehicle that was the brainchild of Oscar-winning director Charles Ferguson. If it was in need of some company it didn’t have to wait long, because before you could utter the words ‘stop press’, NBC dropped all plans for a four-hour mini-series like the proverbial lead balloon.
Controversy has never been far from the Clintons’ door, with these latest goings-on doing nothing to help matters. The ex-secretary of state has become a frontrunner to represent the Democrats in the next Presidential elections, but it would seem that the former first lady has turned iron lady.
It all started in August when prominent Republicans called on the two TV networks in question to bin their respective programmes, as they were viewed as ‘unfair promotion’. It was then threatened that the Republican Party might even go as far as to boycott debates on those networks. Weeks later, they made good their threat by voting to make the boycott official, labelling the planned films as ‘political ads masked as unbiased entertainment’.
On the decision to scrap his feature film, Ferguson said: “When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. After painful reaction, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I could be proud.” Even his previous success with Inside Out, a documentary on the financial crisis, wasn’t enough to save Ferguson’s bacon, as before plans for the movie were announced, he received a less than friendly phone call from Nick Merrill (Clinton’s press secretary).
Is all of this a blow for freedom of speech? Ferguson went on to say: “It’s a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have become. But I don’t think it’s a victory for the media, or the American people.”