The director of CNN’s documentary on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Monday that he was quitting the project after being stonewalled by both Democrats and Republicans during filming.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Charles Ferguson said he wasn’t put off by the Clinton inner circle’s silence. It did surprise him, however, when “prominent Democrats made it known both to CNN and to me that they weren’t delighted with the film.”
I would have loved to explore all this. But when I approached people for interviews, I discovered that 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. Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away. I even sensed potential difficulty in licensing archival footage from CBN (Pat Robertson) and from Fox. After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out.
This, of course, was the real consequence, and probably the real intent, of the announcements by the RNC, Philippe Reines, and David Brock. Neither political party wanted the film made. After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud. And so I’m cancelling.
The Republican National Committee voted in August to shut CNN and NBC out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary debates as long as those networks moved forward with pending film projects about Clinton. It was unclear whether CNN would try to find another director for the documentary.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.