Pravda-esque Big Brotherism, or, Keep on Spinning in the Free World

Good news and bad news from the Land of the Free.

In the US, local TV stations are generally owned by large media companies. These companies are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It’s akin to Carlton’s ownership of Central TV in England, and the rules of behaviour that are set by the Independent Television Commission. So in Baltimore, for example, WBFF is the local Fox station. They are not owned by Fox, but by one of these larger conglomorates. Phew!

Anyway… one major TV company that owns stations all over the States is Sinclair Broadcast Group, based just up the road from us. In a move that has amazed even the most cynical, Sinclair ordered all their local stations to preempt primetime broadcasting this coming Friday to air parts of a documentary that even those on the right will admit is vehemently anti-Kerry.

Amazing! A partisan broadcaster (most of Sinclair’s executives are Republican) is allowed to use the public airwaves to show a blatant piece of election propaganda. And they have the audacity to call it “news” (which is their excuse for being able to show it)! Now, I understand that the media has its biases, but network news – in the name of ethical journalism – should never, ever be conciously partisan. When Sinclair’s chief Washington reporter spoke out about this outrage he was promptly fired. Nice.

So far the FCC has refused to do anything. That its chairman is Colin Powell’s son is surely a coincidence.

I’m all for partisan documentaries. I watched and enjoyed Fahrenheit 9/11, but I’m not so stupid that I don’t realise that it’s lefty propaganda. And I would not support it being shown as news on network TV in the run-up to an election as tight as this.

I’m so incensed by this that I sent emails to all of Sinclair’s advertisers requesting that they dissasociate themselves from this rubbish. I’m not even an American citizen, but I hate to see this kind of skulduggery going on in any country.

But the good news is that the market has done what legislators wouldn’t. With its shares falling 17% and a major shareholder accusing Sinclair’s executives of insider trading, the company has announced that it will only air part of the documentary. There’s more of this story yet to be told, and I shall report back when I see the film for myself.



  1. <>I’m so incensed by this that I sent emails to all of Sinclair’s advertisers requesting that they dissasociate themselves from this rubbish. I’m not even an American citizen, but I hate to see this kind of skulduggery going on in any country.<>Don’t worry. The fact that this would outrage you just shows that you care very much about America, which is always nice to see (I hope that people in the UK were able to say the same of me while I lived there, loving every minute of it–of course any attempt by me to voice opinion about anything politically domestic in the UK would have met with accusations of American imperialism and cultural insensitivity).

    On a related note, I guess it just shows how much the English in general love us that they are < HREF="">sending letters to Ohio to convince people to vote for Kerry<>.

    I must very honestly say, however, that if Americans tried to do this during an election in the UK or any other country, the international outcry would be deafening. Sucks to be America, I guess.


  2. Yes, I do care about America, despite appearances to the contrary. And believe me, this is not just about protecting Kerry (who I like) but to make sure things are done right in this country.

    You’re spot on – we’d go bananas if Americans favoured one of our political candidates by writing letters! How silly! But the reason we do it is simple: what difference does it make to America who governs our little island? Europeans, on the other hand, feel like the outcome of the American election hangs over them too.


  3. Sir,

    You’re missing the lastest news! Those jack-asses fired one of their news people for speaking out against their propoganda-loaded film (a link for the story is at: — are there HTML codes I could use?).

    Good for you for emailing Sinclair’s advertisers– that’s the only way that they’re going to get the message, and even then I’m not sure it will work.

    Only two weeks until the election. Let’s hope IQ’s rise suddenly so our dipshit President will be ushered from power to a place where he can do less harm…


  4. If Kerry wins it will be a miracle. The machine stacked against him is, I fear, invincible. Besides, who can argue with the message “vote for us or you’ll get nuked” (- D. Cheney esq.)


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