Tags: Sinclair | Network | Air | Anti-Kerry | Movie | Election | Eve

Sinclair Network to Air Anti-Kerry Movie on Election Eve

Saturday, 09 October 2004 12:00 AM

The Sinclair network reaches about a quarter of the nation's homes.

The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend that the network's airing of the unflattering documentary about John Kerry’s Vietnam service and his anti-war activities may have much greater impact. Many Sinclair stations broadcast in key swing states such as Florida and Ohio.

The documentary attacking Sen. John F. Kerry's anti-Vietnam War days was reportedly funded by Pennsylvania veterans and produced by a veteran and former Washington Times reporter.

Featuring former POWs accusing Kerry of betrayal, Sinclair plans to classify the airing as news programming.

The liberal media and Kerry supporters are livid about Sinclair's decision.

"It's not the American way for powerful corporations to strong-arm local broadcasters to air lies promoting a political agenda," argued David Wade, a spokesman for the Democratic nominee's campaign. "It's beyond yellow journalism; it's a smear bankrolled by Republican money, and I don't think Americans will stand for it."

Sinclair has 14 affiliated or owned stations in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – key venues in the tight 2004 race.

According to the Times report, the documentary will pre-empt regular programming for one hour between Oct. 21 and Oct. 24 – depending on the city.

A panel discussion will follow the airing of the controversial program – a panel that Kerry reportedly will be asked to join.

Thus far, however, Kerry campaign officials advise that they had been unaware of Sinclair's special programming and claim candidate Kerry has not yet received an invitation to appear.

This is not the first time Sinclair has ruffled establishment media feathers. Last April Sinclair took the spotlight when it ordered its ABC-affiliated stations not to air Ted Koppel's "Nightline" special that offered a roll call of all U.S. military who had died in Iraq.

Sinclair argued that "Nightline's" broadcasting of the names and pictures of more than 700 U.S. troops was a political statement rather than a tribute. The Times noted Sinclair's Republican leanings and said that Sinclair executives have given nearly $68,000 in political contributions, 97 percent to Republicans.

Criticism is already pouring forth.

Keith Woods, dean of the faculty at the Poynter Institute, a journalism school in St. Petersburg, Fla., Said, "To air a documentary intended to provide a one-sided view of Kerry's record and call it news — it's like calling Michael Moore's movie news."

Thus far the documentary has been available only on DVD or through an Internet download.

The film’s producer, Carlton Sherwood, a Vietnam veteran and former reporter for the conservative Washington Times, tells viewers, "Intended or not, Lieutenant Kerry painted a depraved portrait of Vietnam veterans, literally creating the images of those who served in combat as deranged drug-addicted psychopaths, baby killers. ..."

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The Sinclair network reaches about a quarter of the nation's homes. The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend that the network's airing of the unflattering documentary about John Kerry's Vietnam service and his anti-war activities may have much greater impact. Many...
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2004-00-09
Saturday, 09 October 2004 12:00 AM
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