Wednesday, October 20

Their Tanking Stock Had a Little Something to Do With It...

Sinclair backs down - sort of.
Anti-Kerry Film Won't Be Aired
Democrats, Investors Push TV Conglomerate to Alter Broadcast Plans

By Frank Ahrens and Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 20, 2004; Page A07

Under mounting political, legal and financial pressure, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. yesterday backed away from its plan to carry a film attacking John F. Kerry's Vietnam War record, saying it would air only portions of the movie in an hour-long special scheduled for Friday.

"The experience of preparing to air this news special has been trying for many of those involved," Sinclair chief executive David D. Smith said in a statement. "The company and many of its executives have endured personal attacks of the vilest nature, as well as calls on our advertisers and our viewers to boycott our stations and on our shareholders to sell their stock."

Chad Clanton, a spokesman for the Kerry campaign, which had demanded equal time to respond to the planned airing of the 42-minute film "Stolen Honor," said Sinclair "has been all over the map on this issue. One thing that's certain is that they have a partisan agenda."

Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the nonprofit Media Access Project, called the Sinclair move "a surprising cave-in" and said the 62-station television company "clearly felt a lot of pressure and this is an attempt to find a face-saving way out."
It also likely dawned on them that no matter the outcome of the election, an undercurrent of public sentiment would probably change the FCC law (or lack of same) which would have allowed them to air their partisan crockumentary.