Sunday, October 10, 2004


As regular readers know, we confine ourselves to responding to Mark Hyman’s “The Point.” However, a larger issue has come up involving Sinclair Broadcasting that we needed to address in this forum.

Sinclair Broadcasting is charting new territory in shamelessness. In an overt attempt to influence the elections, Sinclair executives plan to force their affiliate stations (many of which are located in swing states) to preempt network programming to show an anti-Kerry documentary days before the election. Here’s an excerpt from the Los Angeles Times article that broke the story:

"Sinclair's programming plan, communicated to executives in recent days and coming in the thick of a close and intense presidential race, is highly unusual even in a political season that has been marked by media controversies. Sinclair has told its stations -- many of them in political swing states such as Ohio and Florida -- to air 'Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal,' sources said. The film, funded by Pennsylvania veterans and produced by a veteran and former Washington Times reporter, features former POWs accusing Kerry -- a decorated Navy veteran turned war protester -- of worsening their ordeal by prolonging the war. Sinclair will preempt regular prime-time programming from the networks to show the film, which may be classified as news programming, according to TV executives familiar with the plan."

"Sinclair stations are spread throughout the country, in major markets that include Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas; its only California station is in Sacramento. Fourteen of the 62 stations the company either owns or programs are in the key political swing states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where the presidential election is being closely fought. Station and network sources said they have been told the Sinclair stations -- which include affiliates of Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, as well as WB and UPN -- will be preempting regular programming for one hour between Oct. 21 and Oct. 24, depending on the city. The airing of "Stolen Honor" will be followed by a panel discussion, which Kerry will be asked to join, thus potentially satisfying fairness regulations, the sources said. Kerry campaign officials said they had been unaware of Sinclair's plans to air the film, and said Kerry had not received an invitation to appear."

This cannot stand. I strongly encourage everyone reading this to file a complaint with the FCC, as well as write to your local Sinclair affiliate station managers, congressional representatives, and the editors of your local papers. These are all good options as far as putting the heat on Sinclair generally about the content of “The Point,” but this latest move makes action absolutely necessary, in our opinion.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Here’s the webpage with all the information you need for filing a complaint with the FCC:


At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted about this. This is the most ridiculous thing to come out of Sinclair to date. The FCC may be the best route, since almost daily there are letters to the editor in our local paper about Sinclair. I haven't actually kept track, but it seems like about five against for every one in favor of "The Point."

Jay Rosen had this to say today about Sinclair's movie:

"John Kerry Should Accept Sinclair Broadcasting's Offer"

The whole article can be found at:

Howard Kurtz had this to say on CNN's Reliable Sources today:

"Could a right-leaning broadcasting company maybe just possibly be trying to influence the election? Sinclair Broadcasting has ordered its stations to preempt regular programming days before election day to air, get this, an anti-Kerry movie. The film "Stolen Honor" is an attack on Kerry's Vietnam War protest, says "The Los Angeles Times." Sinclair, you may recall, was so offended when Ted Koppel read the names of Americans killed in Iraq that it dropped that edition of "Nightline."

"Sinclair, we don't even pretend to be fair and balanced."

(almost all the way to the end)


At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a comment from Mark Hyman about the reading of the names that Sinclair refused to show:

"Certainly political speech disguised as news content is not the way to serve the public good."

Kinda "Flip-Flopping" Mark?


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