Sinclair's Broadcasting Plans Are Odious

RECEIVED Tue., Oct. 12, 2004

Dear Mr. Black,
   I am a former Austinite of 12 years, relocated a far piece north, so I'd first like to say I miss y'all – the whole city – and I hope everyone is keeping the faith and behaving themselves.
   More importantly: I can't be the only one whose stomach has been turned by recent stories in The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times reporting that Sinclair Broadcasting Group, owner of San Antonio Fox station KABB and WB station KRRT, is forcing its affiliates to preempt regular prime-time network programming in the week before the Nov. 2 election in order to run the anti-Kerry propaganda film Stolen Honor.
   Sinclair is the same company that refused to allow its ABC affiliates to air the Nightline episode in which the names of U.S. soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq were listed. They said it was "contrary to the public interest." Stumping for Bush the week before the election on the public airwaves, apparently, is perfectly fine.
   Sinclair owns so many television stations in so many markets that they reach 24% of all TV-watching Americans, according to their very own Web site. They shouldn't be allowed to hold that many people hostage to their partisan message. I shudder to think of what fine WB or Fox programming might get the axe! But in all seriousness, they own plenty of ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates too – and many of them in swing states like Florida and Ohio.
   Broadcasting on the publicly owned airwaves is a privilege, not a right – and one that comes with a responsibility. If KABB and KRRT show this hourlong campaign commercial dressed in documentary clothing, they are violating the trust that has been handed to them by San Antonio citizens and taxpayers.
   I have already contacted both S.A. stations and encourage others to do the same if the parent company Sinclair doesn't drop this ridiculous plan to waste the valuable time of the American people. It's not as if there's not plenty of anti-Kerry information floating around out there for those that want it.
Thank you,
Tracy Edmondson
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