Three stories from today's wire, all showing that our attention to this issue is having a distinct effect:
#1 - SINCLAIR INVESTIGATED FOR INSIDER TRADING!
Apparently there may be more to this controversy than meets the eye. By announcing and airing the "news special", Sinclair Executives have also driven down the Sinclair stock price - and that may have been their plan all along.
Officers Who Ordered Stations to Show Anti-Kerry Film Also Sold Stocks at High Mark, then Drove Values Down
#2 - Backpedal and Flip Flop
Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today that on Friday, October 22, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. central time) certain television stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. will air a special one-hour news program, entitled "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media." In order to minimize the interruption of normally scheduled programming in those markets where Sinclair owns and/or programs more than one television station, the news special will be broadcast on only one of those stations.
For a complete list of stations that WILL broadcast the "special", look in the first COMMENT.
#3 - The Emperor has no Morals
SINCLAIR FIRES DISSENTERS
For those of you who missed Paula Zahn's CNN show last night, Zahn spoke with Sinclair Broadcasting's Washington Bureau Chief, Jonathan Leiberman, who had been fired by Sinclair.
Zahn asked Lieberman what reason he was given by Sinclair for being fired and he answered thusly:
"Today, I was fired because I spoke to a newspaper here in Baltimore this morning about my concerns about labeling this special as a "news" special. I agree that Sinclair, under the First Amendment, has the right to air part or all of this documentary, but my argument has been - call it commentary, call it editorial, call it programming, but don't call it news.
Yesterday, we were called into a mandatory staff meeting and told that the news department would be handling an hour-long special dealing with this documentary, and we were basically told we had no choice but to participate. I stood up and said, I'm not comfortable with this. I think my credibility is at issue. I think the viewers aren't going to trust us if we call this news.
And today, I was fired because I spoke to the newspaper about what I said at that meeting and the concerns that I have over the issue."
Zahn then read the following statement from Sinclair Broadcasting Group VP, Mark Hyman:
"Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, including Jon Leiberman. We are disappointed that Jon's political views caused him to violate policy and speak to the press about company business."
Yet Sinclair allows Hyman to let his views be known in this way:
"The networks are acting like Holocaust deniers and pretending [the POWs] don't exist. It would be irresponsible to ignore them."
Hyman and the Holocaust
Both men spoke their minds. Sinclair had no repercussions for Hyman, but Leiberman loses his job. Hey Republicans out there - how does this world work again?