Sinclair Broadcast Group Airs Conservative "The Point" without Counterpoint
December 14, 2004 (Washington, DC) -- Media Matters for America today launched a nationwide initiative to draw attention to the conservative slant in Sinclair Broadcast Group's television news programming. The campaign -- supported by MoveOn.org, MediaChannel, Working Assets, Robert Greenwald (director of the documentary Outfoxed), Campaign for America's Future, Free Press, and AlterNet -- aims to spur action against Sinclair Broadcast Group's use of the 62 television stations it owns or operates to systematically promote partisan political interests above all others. Of particular concern is a nightly "news and commentary" segment titled "The Point," in which Sinclair vice president Mark Hyman espouses one-sided, conservative rhetoric without any counterpoint. The vehicle for the initiative is a new website, www.SinclairAction.com, where citizens can register concerns directly with companies that advertise on Sinclair stations.
"We believe Sinclair is abusing its stewardship of the airwaves licensed to it on behalf of the American people," said David Brock, President and CEO of Media Matters for America. "The nightly commentaries offered on 'The Point' reflect a persistent pattern at Sinclair, which promotes partisan political interests even at the expense of their purported commitment to responsible news programming."
In a press release issued in response to public outcry over Sinclair's plans to air the controversial film Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal -- an attack on presidential candidate John Kerry -- in the weeks leading up to the election, Sinclair executives made a commitment to "the highest journalistic standards and integrity" and "to present both sides of the issues covered in an equal and impartial manner."
However, a systematic analysis of editions of "The Point" aired between November 2 and December 1, 2004, by Media Matters for America found that Hyman's commentaries do anything but "present both sides of the issues": Hyman made repeated attacks on prominent progressive leaders and members of the Democratic Party (including Senator John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton), derogatory references to "The Angry Left", and ardent support of President George W. Bush and his policies.
Media Matters for America sent letters to both Sinclair's CEO, David D. Smith, and major advertisers on the company's stations, including Kraft Foods, Target, Staples, Sprint PCS, McDonald's, and GEICO Insurance, asking that they work together in good faith to ensure responsible news programming in the public interest. MoveOn.org, along with other supporters, will send emails to their membership directing them to www.SinclairAction.com, where they can take action. "We believe the fairest way to ensure balance on these public airwaves is for Sinclair to provide a meaningful opportunity for opposing views to be heard opposite 'The Point'," said Brock. "This new website provides concerned citizens a mechanism for insisting on balance on Sinclair broadcasts."
An analysis of Sinclair's "The Point" is available at www.SinclairAction.com, along with a discussion forum for Americans to share their views on the subject and a mechanism to track and contact advertisers appearing on Sinclair's news broadcasts.
Sinclair Broadcast Group boasts a history of using public airwaves to promote a partisan, political agenda. In just one week's time last October, more than 150,000 people signed an online petition of citizens who wanted to stop Sinclair from airing the anti-Kerry film.# # #