Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sinclair Broadcasting Boycott In Effect

The Sinclair Boradcasting Group, which owns 62 television stations in 39 markets around the country and whose top executives and partners are generous Bush donors, is requiring all of its stations to pre-empt normal programming and air an anti-Kerry documentary during one hour of prime time between October 21-24. The film, Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, besides having a title that's an exercize in mixed metaphors, is a partisan anti-Kerry screed that features former POWs who accuse Kerry of worsening their ordeal by prolonging the war with his anti-war activism. Sinclair insists that the move is valid because the film counts as news programming and since it will be followed by a panel discussion that John Kerry will be invited to attend, it satisfies all fairness regulations. The LA Times breaks it down:

The program will only be the latest in a string of politically charged media events in this campaign. Representatives of Michael Moore's anti-Bush "Fahrenheit 9/11," which has grossed $214 million worldwide, are in talks for a deal to make the film available on pay-per-view cable the night before the election. The Sundance Channel...[aired] live clips Monday from the anti-Bush "Vote for Change" rock concert. Cable, however, doesn't have the reach of broadcast stations like Sinclair's, nor is it subject to the same federal regulations. Still, although broadcast stations are required to provide equal time to major candidates in an election campaign, the Sinclair move may not run afoul of those provisions if Kerry or a representative is offered time to respond. Moreover, several sources said Sinclair had told them it planned to classify the program as news, where the rules don't apply.

Calling it news, however, poses its own problems, said Keith Woods, dean of the faculty at the Poynter Institute, a journalism school in St. Petersburg, Fla., that teaches professional ethics. "To air a documentary intended to provide a one-sided view of Kerry's record and call it news — it's like calling Michael Moore's movie news," he said, adding that the closer to an election that a controversial news report is aired, the "higher the bar has to go" in terms of fairness.

As a reaction to Sinclair's unprecedented move, liberal groups have organized a petition and boycotts of Sinclair advertisers.

Sign the petition HERE.

Find the list of Sinclair stations HERE.

This page provides websites of Sinclair's stations, some of which have online polls asking if they should air the film. VOTE NO on these polls NOW.

Find the list of their advertisers HERE.

This last page is particularly brilliant. It allows you to choose a market in which Sinclair has a station and see that market's advertisers with contact information so you can call or e-mail them letting them know that you intend to boycott their product/service/establishment until it pulls its advertising from the station.

It's already working. As a result of pressure from the left, Sylvan Learning Center and HER Realtors have pulled their ads from their respective markets' stations.

Read more about this grassroots activism HERE.

Don't be shy. Get in on the act. Let's make them sorry they messed with us.


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