Will Sinclair sever ties with Armstrong Williams over scandal?


Since USA Today's January 7 disclosure that the Bush administration paid conservative pundit Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote its No Child Left Behind education policy, Tribune Media Services has dropped Williams's weekly column and African American television network TV One has stopped broadcasting his show On Point, pending an investigation. But in the fallout over the disclosure, Sinclair Broadcast Group has yet to publicly comment on whether they will continue to air Williams's television show The Right Side. Sinclair owns 51 of the 91 stations that broadcast The Right Side, according to Williams's website.

In addition, a January 28, 2004, article about Sinclair, published on right-wing website NewsMax.com, referred to Williams as a "News Central commentator" (News Central is Sinclair's Maryland-based news center, which provides Sinclair stations with national and international news coverage, as well as commentary). His biography as a 2005 honoree of BellSouth South Carolina African American History Online describes him as a "regular contributor" to Sinclair.

During the December 14, 2004, edition of "The Point" -- Sinclair vice president Mark Hyman's televised conservative commentary segment, aired daily on all Sinclair stations -- Hyman cited Williams as a source for his smear on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as Media Matters for America has noted. (Media Matters has launched a campaign to spur action against Sinclair's misuse of public airwaves to air one-sided, politically charged programming without a counterpoint.)

In a May 3, 2004, column, Williams praised Sinclair's controversial April 2004 decision to forbid its ABC affiliate stations to broadcast an edition of ABC's Nightline that showed the names and photographs of the 700 American soldiers who had died in Iraq up to that point. Williams described himself in the column as "a paid on-air analyst with Sinclair."

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