Saturday, October 09, 2004

Equal Time Thread

It's not the law, but...

Boycott Sinclair has picked up a wee bit of steam. Great.

What do we do if this gets anywhere on Monday, when the Sinclair people get back to their desks? I have to say, I'm leaning towards asking for equal time. Sinclair shows "Going Upriver" or Fahrenheit 9/11 or "Outfoxed", and the calls and emails stop.

Many reasonable people have warned against acting like the zealots on the right who forced Viacom to yank "The Reagans". Do they have a point?

Since Reagan nixed it, Equal Time is no longer the law. But it is FAIR.


Boycott Sinclair

NEW YORK -- The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose television outlets reach nearly a quarter of the nation's homes with TV, is ordering its stations to preempt regular programming just days before the Nov. 2 election 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.

[LA Times, 10/9/04]

When CBS tried to air "The Reagans" on their network, conservatives across the country threatened to boycott CBS advertisers if the movie ran. CBS caved and yanked the film.

When Michael Moore tried to place advertising for the F-9/11 dvd, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox refused to take the ads. Those networks are represented among Sinclair's affiliates.

When "Nightline" aired the names and information of all US soldiers who have been killed in Iraq, Sinclair pulled "Nightline" off their affiliates for the night.

Airing a blatantly partisan film that attacks a specific candidate, as scheduled content, over PUBLIC AIRWAYS is against FCC regulations and FEC election law.

Electioneering Restrictions and Disclosure Under The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), state: "funds from corporations (whether nonprofit or for-profit entities) and unions may not be used to pay for 'electioneering communications', which are broadcast, cable, or satellite communications that:

- refer to a clearly identified Federal candidate;

- are broadcast within 60 days before the general election of the candidate or within 30 days before the party primary, convention, or caucus that nominates the candidate;

- are targeted to the "relevant electorate," i.e., over 50,000 persons in the State or district that the candidate seeks to represent.

Exemptions are provided for news stories, commentaries, editorials, and candidate debates and forums. BCRA gives the FEC authority to make additional exemptions, so long as they do not promote, support, attack, or oppose a Federal candidate."

Please let Sinclair Broadcasting know that they are operating outside of the law, and that you will boycott any advertiser who supports their efforts.

Or contact the Sinclair station near you. Go to the Sinclair Station List to find the station in your area!

Also - CONTACT YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE! The airwaves that Sinclair uses are the property of the American people. Your representative in Washington (who is now running for reelection) owes it to YOU to manage those airwaves responsibly. Call them up and make them do their job. Plus, this is a great issue for a local democrat who needs a campaign jolt. Just think of the photo op! Also, contact John McCain - he went after Sinclair when they refused to air the Nightline broadcast. Or you can reach out to Michael Powell, FCC Chairman.

- Find your Representative here: House Reps.
- Contact John McCain: McCain
- FCC Chairman Powell: FCC Powell

The mainstream media has ceded their responsibility for responsible journalism in this election. It's up to us - average people - to hold their feet to the fire.

The original information about this story, came from bloggers at The Daily Kos - an amazing community of passionate people who are keeping the media honest in this election. JillR - an intrepid Daily Kos member - broke this story. We owe it to her and all of the real people in this country to make sure Sinclair does NOT illegally sway this election.