"The Point's" New Year's resolutions look an awful lot like the GOP's
Research ››› ››› JEREMY CLUCHEY
On the January 1 edition of Sinclair Broadcast Group's two-minute conservative commentary segment "The Point," which airs nightly without a counterpoint on the 62 TV stations Sinclair owns or operates, host and Sinclair vice president Mark Hyman listed twelve topics that "should be resolved for this year" -- many of which were explicit endorsements of Republican policy proposals and positions.
- Hyman endorsed the Bush administration's proposed partial privatization of Social Security, which Democrats oppose, resolving that "Capitol Hill will pass and the President will sign legislation that restructures Social Security that preserves benefits promised to today's seniors and offers investment choices to new workers."
- Hyman echoed Republican criticism of Medicaid, resolving that its "spending will be brought under control." On December 20, The New York Times reported on the Bush administration's efforts to "curb growth of Medicaid spending," noting: "In a letter to President Bush last week, 47 Democratic senators expressed 'opposition to any Medicaid reform proposal that seeks to impose a cap on federal Medicaid spending in any form or eliminates the fundamental guarantee to Medicaid coverage for our nation's must [sic: most] vulnerable citizens.'"
- Hyman repeated his attacks on the mainstream media, resolving that "the partisan press will report only facts in the news and keep opinion in the editorial and commentary sections of their papers and newscasts." But he failed to address his own organization's lack of a counterbalance to its conservative commentary segment or the numerous factual inaccuracies that appear frequently in both "The Point" and Sinclair's twice-daily "Get This" news segment, as Media Matters has extensively documented (here, here, here, here, and here). In April 2004, Sinclair's ABC affiliates refused to broadcast an episode of ABC's Nightline in which host Ted Koppel read the names of the 700-plus U.S. soldiers who had died in Iraq up to that point, claiming: "We do not believe political statements should be disguised as news content." But Sinclair sought to disguise its own political views as news content in October when it planned to air a film attacking Senator John Kerry, Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, and present it as news. Following Media Matters' and other groups' opposition to Sinclair's plans, Sinclair instead aired A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media, a program during which Kerry attackers and the program's host made a number of factually false statements about Kerry, some of which were left uncorrected.
- Hyman criticized campaign finance reform, resolving that "Washington will come to its senses and rescind the abusive McCain-Feingold legislation because no one should have a gag order placed on them when it comes to political speech." As Media Matters has noted, Hyman has previously used attacks on campaign finance reform as a means for attacking Democrats, referring to the legislation as "McCain-Feingold-Soros legislation" in reference to progressive financier and philanthropist George Soros.
- Hyman echoed almost verbatim conservative criticisms of the federal tax code, resolving that "America dumps its tax code that punishes entrepreneurship, investment and risk-taking, and replaces it with policies that reward economic growth and savings." A report from the conservative Heritage Foundation titled "Why Congress Should Repeal the Tax Code" argued that the tax code saps "the economy's strength by punishing work, saving, investment, risk-taking, and entrepreneurship."
Hyman's other resolutions: "The U.S. adopts a sensible immigration policy that allows continued immigration by those who will contribute to American society. And keep out the riff-raff that engages in crime, terrorism and is a burden to the American people"; "Congress will pass a budget resolution and all 13 appropriations measures on time"; "we'll win the peace to go along with having won the war in Iraq"; "doctors and medical professionals can perform their jobs to the best of their abilities without first having to consult with their lawyers and get approval from the insurance company bean-counters"; "a comprehensive energy policy is put into place"; "Congress will not give its members a raise in any year they are unable to pass a balanced budget"; and "researchers find a cure for at least one currently incurable disease."
Media Matters for America recently led the launch of a campaign to protest Sinclair Broadcast Group's continued misuse of public airwaves to air one-sided, politically charged programming without a counterpoint.