11 October 2004

Right Wing Broadcaster to force propaganda film to air

On the announced intention by Sinclair Broadcast Group, a publicly-traded company with direct control over the programming of 62 TV stations around the country, to order its TV outlets to run an anti-Kerry piece of propaganda on the public’s television airwaves in the days leading up to the election, I directed the comment below to their website's comment link. Anyone wishing to add 2 cents to this argument may wish to post an e-mail to the same link.

The Leftcoaster reports:

The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group ... is ordering its 62 TV stations 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.

My e-mail:

To Sinclair Broadcast Group:

I am writing to object to the planned forced broadcast of "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal."

It is highly inappropriate, and indeed, very probably actionable as grounds for revocation of licenses for failure to comply with the public interest mandates of the Communications Act of 1933 and its subsequent regulatory implementation, for SBGI to order its stations to air this film. It is clear that this film is not news or public affairs, but propaganda intended to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

It is not any individual decision to air the film, but the use of the monopoly power of the organization to compel its brodcast by member stations, which I believe to be in violation of both the spirit and the letter of the law.

I hope you will reconsider this very ill-advised move. It shows disrespect for the diversity of opinion in this nation, and reflects a desire to use the public trust of license to operate broadcast stations on the publicly-owned airwaves in a mannner entirely inconsistent with the required dedication to service to the public, which applies to all of the public, not only the supporters of the current administration.

Thank you.
David Studhalter

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