Tags: Hypocrisy | Over | Sinclair

Hypocrisy Over Sinclair

Friday, 15 October 2004 12:00 AM

Let’s start with the recent CBS fiasco now commonly known as “Rathergate.”

It’s accepted now that CBS anchor Dan Rather did a number on President Bush using forged documents. Rather may not have realized that he had been duped, but it seems that he was eager to believe. His producer, Mary Mapes, had been working on the story for years, and it so happened that she wrapped it up just in time to run during the election cycle. Of course, the story also featured Rather’s interview with former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes who is a well-known liberal activist and Bush-hater.

Terry McAuliffe calls the Sinclair broadcast “an illegal in-kind contribution” to the Bush campaign. Presumably, he calls the CBS broadcast “news.”

Over on ABC, Nightline’s Ted Koppel did an entire show of reading off the names of war dead in Iraq. You may believe that Mr. Koppel was honoring our lost soldiers, but the program was not likely to ratchet up support for the President’s policies in Iraq. Was this an “in-kind” contribution to the Democrats?

And speaking of documentaries, Michael Moore’s propaganda piece “Fahrenheit 9/11” ran in hundreds of theatres.

Even though there is no government broadcast license involved, should all those showings be counted as campaign contributions to Senator Kerry?

Your local Wal-Mart Supercenter is all stocked up right about now with copies of the Fahrenheit DVD – just in time for November 2nd. Should Wal-Mart be selling partisan DVDs with no equal time for Mr. Bush? Is that an “in-kind” contribution?

It’s getting silly. We have a right to freedom of speech in this country that allows Dan Rather to broadcast his partisan story through all the CBS outlets.

No one is telling Michael Moore that he can’t screen his movie in any theatre that will take it, or that Wal-Mart can’t put it up for sale just days away from the election.

So what is it with the political Left? They screamed “foul” when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth exercised their right to freedom of speech with a series of TV commercials and tried to get them pulled. And now, they want the Sinclair folks – who have invited Kerry to come on the program – to be forced to cancel their show.

Another irony: It was Congress that created this monster. In the old days, broadcasting companies could only own a few TV stations. A chain of 7 metro stations was a big company. But when Congress pushed through the Telecommunications Bill, it opened the way for the massive media consolidation that allows Sinclair to own 62 stations.

As Senator Kerry is learning, we now have fewer voices among broadcasting companies, but those voices are much louder and more powerful.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” did not produce calls for regulation of movie theaters. But Sinclair’s airing of “Stolen Honor” is already producing calls for a return to the Fairness Doctrine. In the bad old days what that law was in effect, political speech on the airwaves was stifled.

Under the Fairness Doctrine, Sinclair would not be able to broadcast the documentary without all kinds of “equal-time” hassles. In the days when the law was in effect, broadcasters generally refused to bother with political programming outside of news.

The Left may have a secret agenda here. It’s doubtful that the Sinclair broadcast will damage Senator Kerry, but it provides a great opportunity to lobby for the return of the Doctrine. If that happens, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will be through, or will be forced to satellite radio like Howard Stern.

Don’t think it couldn’t happen. Already the whining is coming from groups such as the Alliance for Better Campaigns, Common Cause, the Media Access Project, Media for Democracy, and the United Church of Christ. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is one of the biggest whiners and accused Sinclair of “abuse of public trust.”

Make no mistake – if the FCC and Congress conspire to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, the Dan Rathers of the world will go right ahead with “news” programs that demean all things conservative, while free and open political talk as we know it will come to an end.

That, Mr. Copps, would be an abuse of trust.


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Let's start with the recent CBS fiasco now commonly known as "Rathergate." It's accepted now that CBS anchor Dan Rather did a number on President Bush using forged documents.Rather may not have realized that he had been duped, but it seems that he was eager to believe.His...
Friday, 15 October 2004 12:00 AM
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