Hume soft-pedaled Sinclair's anti-Kerry campaign


FOX News Channel managing editor and chief Washington correspondent Brit Hume described as a "proposal" Sinclair Broadcast Group's decision to force most of the 62 TV stations under its ownership or management to broadcast -- one week before the presidential election -- the anti-Kerry documentary film Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal.

In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported on October 12 that Sinclair has "ordered most of its 62 stations to showcase the film next week, just days before the Nov. 2 election." Further, The New York Times noted that Sinclair officials "said the documentary would pre-empt regular night programming, including prime time."

On the October 11 edition of FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume announced an upcoming segment about Sinclair's decision and Democrats' objection to it, saying: "When we come back, Democrats protest a broadcasting company's proposal to air a documentary about John Kerry's anti-Vietnam activities. We'll tell you why on the 'Grapevine.'"

During the "Grapevine" segment, Hume explained that the film "features Vietnam POWs who say John Kerry's 1971 testimony against the war prolonged their torture and demoralized them." Hume did not mention that, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune noted in an editorial, the veterans featured in the film accuse Kerry of "treason."

Hume did not provide any background on the Republican credentials of those connected to the film and to Sinclair. According to the Los Angeles Times article, Stolen Honor producer Carlton Sherwood "worked for nearly eight years for former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, now secretary of Homeland Security for the Bush administration," and for the conservative newspaper The Washington Times. The Los Angeles Times also reported that the film's sources include several members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an anti-Kerry group whose widely discredited attacks on Kerry have been exhaustively documented by Media Matters for America.

Most significantly, Hume ignored the pro-Republican credentials of Sinclair and its top executives:

  • In April, Sinclair forbade its stations to air an edition of ABC's Nightline that broadcast the names and photographs of the 500 American soldiers who had died in Iraq up to that point.
  • After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "Sinclair Broadcast Group directed its more than 60 stations, including WBFF-TV and WNUV-TV in Baltimore, to broadcast spots declaring support for the efforts of President [George W.] Bush and other government leaders." (The Baltimore Sun, 9/19/01)
  • Sinclair vice president Frederick G. Smith has donated more than $200,000 to Republican candidates and organizations during the 2000, 2002, and 2004 election cycles.
  • Mark Hyman, vice president of corporate relations for Sinclair, hosts The Point, a series of televised conservative commentaries broadcast on Sinclair's local news programs. In his commentaries, Hyman has described Kerry's career as "a lifetime of supporting Communist forces opposed to the U.S." and has accused Kerry of falsifying his military records to make himself look "better than he is." MMFA has noted that, in a televised September 13 commentary entitled "Kerry and the Killing," Hyman leveled false accusations relating to Kerry's receipt of the Silver Star in an attempt to cast new doubt on his Vietnam service record.
Brit Hume
Sinclair Broadcasting, 2004 Elections
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