Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Sinclair Update

Once it was reported that the Sinclair Group, a GOP-friendly media conglomerate that owns 62 television stations around the country, would force its stations to air Stolen Honor, an anti-Kerry documentary in prime time mere days before the election, the left went on the attack with petitions, boycotts, you name it. Original story is HERE.

Since then, there have been various developments. In a huge testament to the left's grassroots activism, up to 80 advertisers (10%) have pulled support from any number of Sinclair stations and, as a result, Sinclair's stock (SBGI) has dropped precipitously, about 17% in the last 5 days alone to $6.26, resulting in a loss of $100 million in market share. This has led to shareholders initiating lawsuits against the company.

Read more about these developments on dailyKos HERE.

In the meantime, the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission claiming that airing the documentary would amount to an illegal in kind contribution to the George W. Bush campaign, their point being that if Sinclair would like to air what is essentially an anti-Kerry advertisement, they can pay for it like everybody else, not air it for free.

But when the program would air and exactly what the program would consist of has been a mystery...until now. From the press release (thanks to Talking Points Memo):

Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today that on Friday, October 22, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. central time) certain television stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. will air a special one-hour news program, entitled "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media."...The news special will focus in part on the use of documentaries and other media to influence voting, which emerged during the 2004 political campaigns, as well as on the content of certain of these documentaries.
The best part is right here:

Contrary to numerous inaccurate political and press accounts, the Sinclair stations will not be airing the documentary "Stolen Honor" in its entirety. At no time did Sinclair ever publicly announce that it intended to do so. In fact, since the controversy began, Sinclair's website has prominently displayed the following statement: "The program has not been videotaped and the exact format of this unscripted event has not been finalized. Characterizations regarding the content are premature and are based on ill- informed sources."
Does this seem to be a concession on the part of Sinclair? Yes, somewhat. And indeed, the program won't air on all 62 stations, but only 1 within any given market. But there is still the fear that this could be a Trojan horse of sorts, a way to sneak through anti-Kerry propaganda in the form of objective news. The Washington bureau chief of their news division was fired today after saying that Sinclair's planned hourlong special is "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election."

So what do we do? Keep the heat on. List of advertisers is HERE.

Here's a partial list of national advertisers that are still advertising on Sinclair with e-mail addresses to let them know that we won't be using their services unless they pull out:



Big Lots


Domino's Pizza

Johnson & Johnson


Miller Brewing



Taco Bell


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