Sinclair VP Hyman wrong on Kerry's testimony


In the October 26 edition of "The Point," a one-minute commentary by Sinclair Broadcast Group vice president Mark Hyman that is broadcast daily on many of the 62 TV stations Sinclair owns or operates, Hyman yet again issued false accusations regarding Senator John Kerry's 1971 testimony to the Senate foreign relations committee.

Referring to the 13 prisoners of war (POWs) who appeared in the anti-Kerry film Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal -- excerpts of which were broadcast by 40 Sinclair affiliate stations on October 22 as part of a Sinclair program titled A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media -- Hyman claimed: "13 American POWs ... ended 31 years of self-imposed silence in order to set the record straight. These American icons rebutted Kerry's claims that his 1971 testimony accusing American servicemen of 'war crimes' ... harmed no one." Hyman also referred to the POWs' claim in Stolen Honor that Kerry's actions worsened the POWs' treatment: "[T]hey say ... Kerry's testimony was used by their Communist captors." But Kerry never accused American servicemen of "war crimes" and there is evidence discrediting the claim that his testimony worsened the POWs' treatment.

As Media Matters for America has previously noted, in his 1971 Senate testimony, Kerry simply related the personal experiences of other Vietnam veterans who came home and testified to their personal experiences at the Winter Soldier Investigation hearing in Detroit earlier that year, which was organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Kerry, who testified in his capacity as spokesman for VVAW, focused blame on the leaders at that time -- not the soldiers -- for the atrocities they claimed to have committed or witnessed.

MMFA has also noted that two of the film's featured POWs -- James Warner and Leo K. Thorsness -- have previously made remarks that contradict the claim that Kerry's actions worsened the POWs' treatment when under interrogation. NBC News correspondent David Shuster noted in his "Hardblogger" coverage of the presidential election for that he found no evidence Kerry's name was used in the interrogation of all American POWs in Vietnam: "[T]he film only features POWs who say John Kerry's name was invoked by north Vietnamese prison guards. But we've spoken to dozens of POWs who spent years in Vietnamese prison camps and say they never heard John Kerry's name mentioned once."

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.
Mark Hyman
Sinclair Broadcasting, 2004 Elections
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