Boycott Sinclair Broadcasting

I caught an interview with an executive of Sinclair Broadcasting on CNN this morning. He justified the company’s decision not to air the ABC Nightline reading of the names of the dead in Iraq because it was a political statement and then justified Sinclair’s decision to air an anti-Kerry film in the week before the election as a business decision. He said, in effect that “These prisoners of war [the producers] more than anyone” had earned a right to be heard and John Kerry could put this to rest by meeting with them—by advocating for this group, Sinclair is acting politically, too. It is holding the public airwaves hostage to force Kerry into a meeting that would be choreographed to hurt his campaign.

See the Sinclair statement for yourself.

Sinclair has every right to take this risk as a business and, as users of the public airwaves that the company borrows Americans have every right to punish the company for its decision.

Stop watching Sinclair channels, they are using a public resource to conduct a political attack without offering the subject of its attack the opportunity to respond on his own terms. An invitation “to participate” in the program is not the same as being given an equal opportunity to present a case to the American people. There was a time when something called the “Fairness Doctrine” would have required Sinclair offer equal time to the Kerry campaign, but that was gutted by the Reagan Administration.

In other words, it used to be that if the broadcaster provided free air time to one political view it had to match that with free air time to other views. If Sinclair sincerely believes it is acting fairly, which its contradictory statements about the motivations for its recent censorship of ABC Nightline and the airing of the anti-Kerry film belie, then it should not be dictating the terms of Kerry’s participation or holding the public attention hostage in order to force Kerry to meet with a group dedicated to his political destruction.

So, let’s make Sinclair’s decision hurt. Let’s put them out of business or teach them a humbling lesson in fairness based on our ability to withhold our attention to the company’s television stations.

Here’s a list of the stations Sinclair Broadcasting owns. Turn them off.

WLOS 13, Asheville, N.C.
WBFF 45, Baltimore, Md.
WTTO 21, Birmingham, Ala.
WUTV 29, Grand Island, N.Y.
WNYO 49, Grand Island, N.Y.
KGAN 88, Cedar Rapids, Ia.
WICD 15, Champaign, Ill.
WICS 20, Springfield, Ill.
WMMP 36, Charleston, S.C.
WCHS 8, Charleston, W. Va.
WSTR 64, Cincinnati, Ohio
WSYX 6, Columbus, Ohio
WKEF 22, Dayton, Ohio
KDSM 17, Des Moines, Ia.
WSMH 66, Flint, Mich.
WXLV 45, Winston-Salem, N.C.
KSMO 31, Kansas City, Kan.
KVWB 21, Las Vegas
KFBT 33, Las Vegas
WDKY 56, Lexington, Ken.
WMSN 47, Madison, Wis.
WCGV 24, Milwaukee, Wis.
WVTV 18, Milwaukee, Wis.
KMWB 23, Minneapolis, Minn.
WEAR 3, Pensacola, Fla.
WFGX 35, Pensacola, Fla.
WZTV 17, Nashville, Tenn.
WUXP 30, Nashville, Tenn.
WTVZ 33, Norfolk, Va.
KOCB 34, Oklahoma City, Ok.
KOKH 24, Oklahoma City, Ok.
KBSI 23, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
WYZZ 43, Bloomington, Ill.
WPGH 53, Pittsburgh, Penn.
WCWB 22, Pittsburgh, Penn.
WGME 13, Portland, Maine
WLFL 22, Raleigh, N.C.
WRDC 28, Raleigh, N.C.
WRLH 35, Richmond, Va.
WUHF 31, Rochester, N.Y.
KOVR 13, West Sacramento, Calif.
KABB 29, San Antonio, Calif.
KRRT 35, San Antonio, Calif.
WGGB 40, Springfield, Mass.
KDNL 30, St. Louis, Mo.
WSYT 68, Syracuse, N.Y.
WTWC 40, Tallahassee, Fla.
WEMT 39, Johnson City, Tenn.

Follow up: For information about the individual advertisers that can be called to exert influence on Sinclair, see this site. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo adds sagely: I get the strong impression that the real point of vulnerability are the local advertisers. So if you live in or really anywhere near a Sinclair market that’s definitely where to focus.

Author: Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.

6 thoughts on “Boycott Sinclair Broadcasting”

  1. well, to be fair, if sinclair really wanted to help W it would block out the debates. talk about one sided. in fact, if i were so minded i might write sinclair a short note:

    Dear Sinclair,
    This year’s election is about the safety of our uninsured children. By continuing to broadcast the debates, you are threatening the President’s chance of being re-elected. Whose side are you on, anyway?

  2. Hi. I heard you on the show, “Web talk radio” on my Pocket PC this morning as I was driving to work. I absolutely loathed your performance. Your continuous screaming into the microphone was obnoxious, unentertaining, and a blessing when it was over. Either that or your microphone was turned up way too loud. You didn’t take the questions they asked you seriously, preferring to “call back” your “humorous” medical condition stemming from your shrieking.

    Please, please stop screaming.

  3. Let me guess, you are a dropout who needs a war to protest as a way to FEEL like you are making a contribution because you are too lazy to actually work. Loser! Get a job! All the freaks in the Kerry Kamp are activists because activism is a diversion from paying the bills. Morons! Why don’t you go join the Marines like real men and have the guts to put an end to the death and carnage that started in Iraq long before we got there. If if wasn’t for idiots like you, we could bring peace to Iraq. You don’t have a clue what is going on over there, fool!

  4. Rudy, wow, yours is a penetrating intellect. Starting from total fabrication about my financial and employment situation, and running right through the testosterone barrier into the only Marines-are-real-men argument, you change the subject from Sinclair to Iraq. I was going to delete your comment, but decided to leave it up as a monument of inbred stupidity.

    Hail, Rudy, dimwit dipshit!

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