Convergence Media

Sinclair bans Nightline

Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns TV stations reaching 24% of the US population, has banned its ABC-affiliates from carrying Friday night’s Nightline because it finds the show “contrary to public interest.”

The show will air a tribute to fallen soldiers by showing the names and photos of servicemen and women killed in Iraq — currently 533 killed in action and 204 killed in “nonhostile” incidents.

The news made its way through the blogosphere. (I started with BOP and DailyKOS, then went to Newberry for Congress and finally to Poynter, which has the full statement from ABC news and Sinclair.)

There is a grassroots campaign afoot according to comments on BOP and Eschaton.

Cries of partisanship
In a fax to news organizations on Thursday, Sinclair accused ABC of “disguising political statements as news content.”

Some media quickly took the bait. MSNBC showed its colors by quoting the conservative Media Research Center and Fred Barnes, executive editor of the conservative Weekly Standard … both claiming ABC is showing anti-war propaganda. Note that MSNBC did not report that Sinclair owns 20 FOX stations, even though it quoted Barnes on FOX news, a competitor of ABC news.

The only nod to “balanced” reporting was a quote from Poynter Institute ethics director Bob Steele, buried at the foot of the story.

Knight-Ridder also quotes a conservative organization, Accuracy in Media, which has accused ABC of “exploiting” the war dead.

You can’t have it both ways, guys — Sinclair complained that ABC hadn’t published names of the victims of 9-11 (which it did, on the one-year anniversary). Was that exploitation? Are these dead any less due a tribute?

Is the Seattle Times equally unpatriotic because it’s done something similar? Or is it the reach of ABC news that has caused this Adminstration-aligned business heartburn?

If war dead were routinely identified and mourned, maybe we’d think long and hard before beginning a discretionary conflict on the other side of the world.

Deep political pockets
The MSNBC/AP story also failed to mention the monetary and political ties Sinclair has to Republicans and this Administration:

Reuters reports: “Sinclair executives have donated more than $130,000 to President Bush and his political allies since 2000.”

CNN reports that “four of Sinclair’s top executives each have given the maximum campaign contribution of $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.”

Overall, Sinclair apparently has given $65,434 this election cycle; 98% went to Republican candidates. [BOP]

Why do we allow TV station executives to contribute to political campaigns when those same campaigns turn around and line the coffers of the stations when they buy political ads? Sinclair’s quarterly revenue was up $4 million over expectations, according to the Sacramento Bee; part of that was $1.3 million of additional political advertising in key states.

Affected Stations:
ABC St Louis (market rank, 21)
Columbus, OH (34)
Asheville, NC &
Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, SC (35)
Greensboro / Winston-Salem / Highpoint, NC (46)
Charleston / Huntington, WV (63)
Mobile, AL / Pensacola, FL (62)
Springfield, MA (106)

According to Eschaton, it will run in Tallahassee, FL (111 – Sinclair also owns NBC here, too)

Full List
(20 FOX stations – surprised? if so, read this Baltimore Sun piece about their mission to report the good news coming out of Iraq, to balance the “liberal media” – thanks Eschaton)

Contact Info
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030
410-568-1500 (Main Telephone)
410-568-1533 (Main Fax)

Unverified e-mail (from BOP): (Chairman and CEO) (Right wing operative) (Head of Sinclair conservative news project)

Koppel a moderate
Media Channel reports that Koppel is a moderate journalist whose criticism usually comes from the left, not the right. He was an embedded reporter during the start of the war.

This program runs on the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, 30 April 1975, and on the eve of the anniversary of Bush’s appearance on a US aircraft carrier under the banner “Mission Accomplished.”

CNN (30 Apr); Reuters (30 Apr); Seattle PI (AP – 30 Apr)

Updated at 2.37 am

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.