A preemptively controversial documentary about Hillary Clinton, set to air on CNN ahead of the 2016 election, has been canceled by the filmmaker after a bipartisan effort to shut it down. The film by Charles Ferguson, who won a Best Documentary Oscar for his financial-crisis take Inside Job, was immediately boycotted by the RNC, which said it would refuse to participate in CNN-sponsored debates, and David Brock of Media Matters, who allied with the Clinton loyalists. While CNN stood strong, Ferguson announced today, “After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud.”
Writing for the Huffington Post, the documentarian insinuated that the Clintons’ collective muscle made sure there was no cooperation:
[W]hen 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. […]
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.
“I don’t think I would’ve even been able to get talking heads,” he told the New York Times, which noted that Ferguson gave $30,000 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008. As for Team Clinton, he said, “They knew this wasn’t a whitewash. And my very strong impression was that anything other than a whitewash is something they don’t want to support.”
NBC’s miniseries starring Diane Lane will have to do.
Update: NBC is cancelling its mini-series as well. “After reviewing and prioritizing our slate,” the network said in a statement, “we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton mini-series.”