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They Control The Means of Production

My friend Srinivas Ayyagari unloads some well-deserved outrage at the Sinclair Broadcast Group who are planning to run this stunt:

The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose television outlets reach nearly a quarter of the nation's homes with TV, is ordering its stations to preempt regular programming just days before the Nov. 2 election to air a film that attacks Sen. John F. Kerry's activism against the Vietnam War, network and station executives familiar with the plan said Friday. . . .

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.

Ah the liberal media.

UPDATE: Kevin's right call your local Sinclair affiliate and tell them you won't be watching their station anymore if they pull this stunt. Then call Sinclair HQ at (410) 568-1500 and let them know about that first call you placed. It would also be good to try and find out who's advertising during this programming, and tell them you won't be purchasing their products. Any friend of George W. Bush's values money over principle, and pressure can be brought to bear.

October 9, 2004 | Permalink

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» Let's Get It Started from Three Guys
Just so you know, a breakdown of the swing states affected by this. Notice anything interesting about which markets have the most stations? [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 9, 2004 1:57:59 PM

» ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME? from Three Guys
Chutzpah, thy name is Sinclair: The company made headlines in April when it ordered seven of its stations not to air Ted Koppel's "Nightline" roll call of military dead in Iraq, deeming it a political statement "disguised as news content." [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 9, 2004 2:59:29 PM

» A Dose of Reality for Kevin Drum from Deinonychus antirrhopus
Kevin Drum on the showing of Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal by the Sinclair Broadcasting Group prior to the election, They aren't just going to make this anti-Kerry film available for airing. They aren't going to recommend their affiliates show i... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 12, 2004 2:28:03 PM

» A Dose of Reality for Kevin Drum from Deinonychus antirrhopus
Kevin Drum on the showing of Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal by the Sinclair Broadcasting Group prior to the election, They aren't just going to make this anti-Kerry film available for airing. They aren't going to recommend their affiliates show i... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 12, 2004 6:10:09 PM

» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 11:12:03 AM

» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 11:14:02 AM

Comments

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.

Kerry and the war protesters were prolonging the war?

Has the US officially turned into Orwell-style dystopia with the Ministry of Truth and stuff like that?

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 9, 2004 12:16:01 PM

It's disgusting, but I can't imagine it having much effect. Who will watch it but devotees of the paranoid style in American politics? The program will no doubt boost the morale among that element, but so would Hannity & Colmes, Savage Nation, or whatever those viewers would be watching/listening to in the absence of "Stolen Honor".

Posted by: son volt | Oct 9, 2004 12:37:39 PM

What primetime programming does the network usually show?

Posted by: Jeff | Oct 9, 2004 12:41:44 PM

When George Soros, Moveon.org and CBS News stop trying the same sorts of stunts, I'll be outraged, and not a day before. (And no, I'm not supporting Bush for re-election, so the trolls can save the b.s. for someone else.)

Posted by: Abiola Lapite | Oct 9, 2004 12:46:55 PM

Abiola Lapite, could you care to name any instances where a liberal organization that controls media outlets decided to broadcast lies in order to influence an election? I can think of none.

What Sinclair is doing is pretty much unprecedented (across the political spectrum actually, since there haven't been many cases where even conservative organizations pulled a similar stunt).

I thought the press baron era was over.

Posted by: Aris | Oct 9, 2004 1:00:48 PM

Sent a message to the Baltimore Fox station, which I had just started watching. I'm guessing this is mostly to fire up the base to vote. It's still sleazy, though I do recall that there was an extended "infomercial" in 1972 about Nixon the night before the election. My father was really steamed, no doubt because it interrupted sports programming (my dad was obsessed with politics and sports).

Posted by: Barbara | Oct 9, 2004 1:02:30 PM

If anyone finds a station taking calls on a Saturday, let the world know.

Posted by: SamAm | Oct 9, 2004 1:03:20 PM

Abiola,

Does that mean you're supporting Kerry? I'm aware there are third parties and some want neither Bush nor Kerry to be elected. Nevertheless, of the two candidates that have a chance of getting elected, which would you rather see in the White House on Nov. 3?

Posted by: WeSaferThemHealthier | Oct 9, 2004 1:04:21 PM

I think our friend Abiola here can't grasp a subtle difference between paid political advertisement and the media owner propagandizing his favorite candidate.

This is no different than the much reviled situation in Russia where Mr. Putin controls all the TV channels.

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 9, 2004 1:08:21 PM

From what I remember, moveon.org had trouble getting its advertisement on the air, even though they they were paying for it.

I don't have a Sinclair station in my area, but I would sure like to apply pressure to the advertisers (as was already done, Abiola, by the right in the case of the Reagan movie). How do we find out who they are?

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 9, 2004 1:13:16 PM

I have a little trouble beliving that NBC, CBS and ABC, who refused Fahrenheit 9/11 advertising, is going to put up with this. I think that the big three are going to muscle Sinclair a little bit over this, and I certainly plan to encourage them.

Posted by: neil | Oct 9, 2004 2:26:17 PM

Yeesh.

"Stolen Honor" was made by Carlton Sherwood, a Vietnam veteran and former reporter for the conservative Washington Times who is also the author of a book about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Posted by: JP | Oct 9, 2004 2:36:13 PM

Moo Cow is back to suggest that Moore get F 9/11 on Pay per View and Move On or some lib org fund viewings for all undecided voters.

Posted by: Moo Cow | Oct 9, 2004 2:41:42 PM

Dammit, no! How can you not see that you are playing right into the republican's fucking hands? Shit, weren't you paying attention the past two years? By straight-out boycotting, we not only raise interest in the film, we also have to defend acting like a bunch of censors. People don't fucking like that. Make it a fair time boycott. Demand that if they don't show "Going Upriver," we boycott. That way we shift the burden of justifying censorship and the sense of desperation back onto them.

Posted by: Monstertron | Oct 9, 2004 3:07:29 PM

Ok, but I already called my local Sinclair affiliate to tell them that I wouln't be watching anymore after they pulled Nightline because Koppel had the gall to read the names of American war dead.

Hope they don't keep records.

Posted by: zwichenzug | Oct 9, 2004 3:30:44 PM

Calling Sinclair is stupid. It's like calling FoxNews and complaining to them about their bias. Why would they care - they know about their bias.

You should call their advertisers, folks.

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 9, 2004 3:35:05 PM

Just out of curiousity, how DOES one find out who MIGHT advertise for a future broadcast?

Posted by: T: Central | Oct 9, 2004 4:20:41 PM

I have no expertise in this whatsoever, but I am sure they have a group of more or less permanent advertisers on the national, regional and local levels. IOW, those companies who you see advertising on their channels today are their more or less permanent clients.

Call them and tell them that you saw them advertising on Sinclair's channels and that Sinclair's machinations make you want to boycott their products. And to organize others to boycott.

The effect of Toyota's (or whatever it is) marketing department calling Sinclair will be about thousand times greater than the effect of a thousand calls from individuals.

Posted by: abb1 | Oct 9, 2004 4:33:37 PM

" think our friend Abiola here can't grasp a subtle difference between paid political advertisement and the media owner propagandizing his favorite candidate."

Perhaps because there is no difference? It's his station, his wallet, and he can broadcast whatever the hell he wants. There simply is no substantive difference between the likes of Soros renting the the airwaves to flood them with anti-Bush propaganda, and those who own said airwaves doing the same in the opposite direction.

The real analogy to Putin's Russia is what fellows like you would like to see happen. When people criticize the likes of CBS for putting out fraudulent BS, you cry foul, and when Soros puts up a multimillion dollar warchest with the express intention of dethroning the incumbent, you say "Well done!", but when the other side does the same thing, suddenly it's a sinister trend, the fall of the Republic. I'm not so taken with partisan rage to recognize hypocritical nonsense when I see it, and this is hypocrisy of the rankest variety.

Posted by: Abiola Lapite | Oct 9, 2004 6:25:09 PM

Conservative-leaning?
That hardly does these people justice, now does it? Let's keep our language precise, and cut the pablum.

Posted by: John Isbell | Oct 9, 2004 7:34:29 PM

The movie couldn't be accurate. There couldn't be any truth to the allegations about our Johnny boy. He fought in Vietnam and won 3 purple hearts. He came back and spoke truth to power.

Posted by: Cheeky Lawyer | Oct 9, 2004 7:56:13 PM

"It's his station, his wallet, and he can broadcast whatever the hell he wants. There simply is no substantive difference between the likes of Soros renting the the airwaves to flood them with anti-Bush propaganda, and those who own said airwaves doing the same in the opposite direction."

Correction - Sinclair does not own the airwaves - the American people do. They are granted a license to operate on specific frequencies and within specific guidelines.

Posted by: yank in london | Oct 9, 2004 8:55:53 PM

"I think our friend Abiola here can't grasp a subtle difference between paid political advertisement and the media owner propagandizing his favorite candidate."

There is a BIG difference. The former is regulated by McCain-Feingold the latter is free to editorialize as much as they please.

Posted by: abdul abulbul amir | Oct 9, 2004 9:26:55 PM

Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.
Pandagon has a post with a comment listing IBGC (as I recall) as the Sinclair money, an email link, and a pithy point about money you can make to them. I used that.
There is considerable debate there too about whether the left is walking into a trap in contesting this. I say no. This is a failing fat cat corporation trying to tell our voters how to vote. I see resistance to that concept.

Posted by: John Isbell | Oct 9, 2004 11:20:21 PM

There is a new website (which I found on Kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/10/9/114942/789) called http://www.boycottsinclair.blogspot.com. Apparently the web site author plans to collect Sinclair advertisers and publish them. I urge everyone to do so. I've also sent emails to Michael Powell (yeah I know, a lot of good that will do...at least if enough of us do, it will get someone's attention), Senator McCain and my local newspapers. These people don't operate well in the light of day...so visibility is the best weapon.

Also, attn Labiola...it's against the law to do what they're doing. I lifted this off the above boycottsinclair website.

Electioneering Restrictions and Disclosure Under The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), state: "funds from corporations (whether nonprofit or for-profit entities) and unions may not be used to pay for 'electioneering communications', which are broadcast, cable, or satellite communications that:

- refer to a clearly identified Federal candidate;

- are broadcast within 60 days before the general election of the candidate or within 30 days before the party primary, convention, or caucus that nominates the candidate;

- are targeted to the "relevant electorate," i.e., over 50,000 persons in the State or district that the candidate seeks to represent.

Exemptions are provided for news stories, commentaries, editorials, and candidate debates and forums. BCRA gives the FEC authority to make additional exemptions, so long as they do not promote, support, attack, or oppose a Federal candidate."

Posted by: GEldridge | Oct 10, 2004 5:33:46 PM

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