Tuesday, October 12, 2004


The Sinclair story has been all over the blogosphere for days and the mainstream media is finally catching up.

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns 62 stations, many in swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin. They have a market penetration of nearly 25% of American households. In May, when Ted Koppel read the names of the troops killed in Iraq on Nightline, Sinclair's seven ABC stations weren't allowed to air the show. In a statement posted on their website, Sinclair said that Koppel reading the names of the dead "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."

Now, Sinclair has ordered its stations to pre-empt an hour of prime-time programming between October 21 and October 24 to air an anti-Kerry propaganda film. Stolen Honor is produced by Carlton Sherwood, who just happens to have worked for eight years for former Pennsylvania Governor and current secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. The sponsoring group of this film is "POWs for Truth", which merged with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to become the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, as announced in a September 29 press release.

An executive from Sinclair was on NewsNight with Aaron Brown last night and claimed that this was not partisan because the film is news. After all, Sinclair can't hold off on reporting news that might hurt one candidate or benefit another. He went on to say that every time they air bad news from Iraq, it damages Furious George, but they don't hold off on reporting that until after the election.

Yes, I can see how those are equivalent issues that must be covered. A partisan, anti-Kerry smear fakeumentary is surely as newsworthy as the deaths of our American men and women in combat in Iraq.

Today, the DNC is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission stating that Sinclair's actions amount to an illegal in-kind campaign contribution. Eighteen Democratic Senators have also signed a letter asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether Sinclair's broadcasting of the film would be improper use of airwaves.

Imagine if the situation was reversed and 62 stations were being forced to air Fahrenheit 9/11 a week before the election. Figure out the eqivalent amount of outrage and express it.

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