Thursday, April 29, 2004

Sinclair Broadcast Group Yanking Kopel's Iraq Memorial Nightline

Sinclair Broadcast Group is pulling Friday's Nightline as being "contrary to the public interest". As if they have any right to define what the public interest is. They claim that ABC and Kopel are trying to "undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq". The base their policy on the asserted objection of ONE widow who opposes having her husand's name read on the air. You can read more about the story in the Baltimore Chronicle and on Atrios' Eschaton.

Sinclair owns 8 ABC affiliate stations:

TALKING POINTS:

Ask them why they refuse to honor those who have served this country with the last full measure of devotion. Tell them they have no right and no business interfering with a National memorial service for the fallen.

Ask them what evidence they have, except for the claimed anecdotal evidence of 1 window, that this tribute is not wanted by the families of the fallen. Why does one person have a veto over the wishes of the over 600 whom they have not consulted?

Questionable Rhetoric: If you want to really unload on them, tell them that it is un-American to fail to pay respects to fallen soldiers. Ask them if they are ashamed of these soldiers who sacrificed for their nation. If they deny being ashamed of the soldiers, demand that they prove it by celebrating their sacrifice by airing the broadcast. Before rejecting such a rhetorical device, read the story in the Chronicle about the owners of Sinclair. The tactic will seem a lot less objectionable when you understand with whom you are dealing.

ACTION:

Contact the Sinclair Broadcast Group at 410-568-1500, or choose your contact.

Call and/or write both Sinclair and the involved ABC affiliate stations, expecially if you can claim some local affiliation with the region served. Demand that Nightline's Friday broadcast be carried.

Put them on notice as to your intent if you are willing to file a complaint with the stations involved (such complaints must be kept in Local Public Inspection files) and with the FCC regarding their failure to broadcast important issues facing the local communities they serve. Send written complaints to the stations and to:

Federal Communications Commission
Enforcement Bureau
445 12th St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

Fax: (202)-418-2810 Telephone number: (202) 418-7450
E-mail address: complaints-enf@fcc.gov

You should generally include the following information in your complaint: (1) the call letters of the station; (2) the city and state where the station is located; (3) the name, time, and date of the specific program or advertisement in question, if applicable; (4) the name of anyone contacted at the station, if applicable; and (5) a statement of the problem, as specific as possible, together with an audio or video tape or transcript of the program or advertisement (if possible). Please include your name and address if you would like information on the final disposition of your complaint; however, you may request confidentiality. The FCC prefers that you submit complaints in writing.

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