November 26, 2012
NBC News blocked backers of a key marriage equality measure in Washington State from using a video featuring Chelsea Clinton urging voters to support a state-wide referendum on marriage, BuzzFeed has learned. Clinton, a vocal proponent of marriage equality, cut the video for a group supporting the Washington state measure, as well as a second video for another group. But NBC, for which Clinton works as a "special correspondent" since last November, "scuttled" the campaign, sources familiar with the ads said. In the weeks before the November elections — where voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington voted on measures relating to same-sex couples’ marriage rights — such prominent support would have been heavily sought. Clinton had supported efforts toward the legislative passage of marriage equality in New York, going so far as to attend and participate in a phone-banking effort in Manhattan before the legislature approved the bill in June 2011. Chelsea Clinton is thought by many in the Clinton circle to be eyeing a political future, and her public support for marriage was an early step in that direction. Her role at NBC News — where she focused on good-news stories, and avoids politics — also appears to be a step in the direction of public life. Three people who saw the videos confirmed their existence to BuzzFeed. They were fully prepared, with the script approved in advance, one source said. The video wasn’t intended for TV broadcast, a second source said, suggesting they were instead to be used as web-based videos. The source added that multiple efforts had been intended beneficiaries of the former First Daughter’s support.