Sinclair Pt. II

I got an email from one of the Sinclair advertisers that I wrote to about the Kerry documentary. I thought you’d be interested in seeing it:

October 14, 2004

Mr. David D. Smith

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

10706 Beaver Dam Road

Hunt Valley, MD 21030

Dear Mr. Smith:

I am writing regarding a matter of deep concern. We have received well

over 1,000 e-mails from consumers threatening to boycott our salons due to

anti-Kerry political programming your stations are planning to run. The

argument is that since we advertise on some of your stations, we are

supporting this programming. To be clear, we do not condone or participate

in political activities. These divisive activities are best left to


Therefore, we are demanding that your stations not run any of our

advertisements during or adjacent to this political programming. In the

event this reasonable demand is not adhered to, we will hold your company

completely responsible for any damages we sustain.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.



Not that it has made an difference: Fox Baltimore are showing A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media at 8pm tomorrow. I’m going to watch it, and if anyone else is so inclined, let’s discuss it here.

My two questions are:

1. Is it propaganda?

2. If so, is it wrong that public-airwave news coverage can be so partisan?

I have already answered question 2 (yes, it is wrong), but everything hangs on question 1. I will answer after Friday.



  1. <>Response from General Mills<>Thank you for contacting General Mills.

    Many consumers have written to share their views on this issue. Some have urged General Mills to use its influence as an advertiser to ensure that the media reports the news in an unbiased manner. Some have urged General Mills to continue advertising, and have threatened to withdraw support for our products if we alter our advertising plans. Passions run deep on both sides, particularly this close to an election.

    Our view in this area is clear. We believe one of the fundamental elements of our society is the freedom of the press. Companies such as ours, in our view, should not attempt to influence, control or pre-empt the content of news through the leverage of advertising sponsorship. To do so would undermine that fundamental freedom.

    We choose to stand with freedom of the press.

    We welcome the views that you and others have shared with us. You may rest assured that we will remind the networks we sponsor that the integrity of their reporting reflects on the companies that advertise during their broadcasts.


  2. Well I watched the programme. In the end it only showed a few scenes from the documentary. The rest of the time it talked about the controversy surrounding the show itself. There was also an interview with pro- and anti-Kerry POWs. Sinclair’s trump card was the First Amendment and they suggested that all those who didn’t want this programme aired were un-Constitutional.


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