Monday, October 11, 2004


The FCC election laws state that labor unions and corporations are not allowed to run ads or programming that attempt to influence the election within 60 days of said election. Sinclar Broadcasting, broadcaster to 25% of the television viewers in the US, thinks it has the right to do otherwise. It has ordered all of it's 64 affiliates to pre-empt their regularily scheduled programming and run an anti-Kerry "documentary" in the week proceeding the presidential election. Sinclair's justification: The program is on the Viet Nam war and surrounding protests, and therefore newsworthy.

A 30-year old war is newsworthy? Surely this guy is not completely biased toward Bush. Maybe not:
A cursory look at Sinclair's recent record shows which side the broadcasting company is on. This is the same Sinclair Broadcasting Group who last April cried wolf over an attempt to "influence public opinion" by forbidding its seven ABC affiliates from airing a Nightline special devoted to the soldiers killed in Iraq.

The same Sinclair who gave $66,000 to the Republican Party in 2004.

The same Sinclair who required weather men to read a statement supporting President Bush's war on terror in 2001.

The same Sinclair who prevented a Madison, Wisconsin Fox affiliate from airing an advertisement by the Democratic National Committee last July.

The same Sinclair who today forces local stations against their will to run a daily "commentary" segment by its corporate spokesman which calls the French "cheese eating surrender monkeys," and antiwar Congressman "unpatriotic politicians who hate our military."

You get the picture. Can you imagine the response from the right if CBS pre-empted local programming in late October to show Fahrenheit 9/11?
So what do we do about this. Josh Marshall notes a letter from FCC Chairman Reed Hunt who essentially threatens Sinclair's broadcasting license. Try to electioneer with the public airwaves and risk your license. Go Reed! The Left Coaster has more here.

The GOP are desperate indeed.