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.

When fear subsides

The Bush campaign has been making a lot of the use of one word in a New York Times Magazine article on Oct. 10th: “nuisance” in relation to the way we live with terrorism.

Here’s the passage:

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ”We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance,” Kerry said. ”As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”

Well, that’s just common sense, the kind of approach that has predominated in Israel, where life goes on despite the potential for terror attacks. Instead of creating an environment of elevated fear, which is precisely what the terrorists like to see since it doesn’t even require they conduct an attack in order to disrupt life in the United States, as the Bush administration has helped them to do, Kerry wants to help people overcome fear and get back to living. It’s a key to getting the economy going—again, the experience of Israel, a thriving economy in the midst of a poor region and a terrorist threat, is an excellent example.

In fact, experience here in the Pacific Northwest, where the Washington State Ferry System has reportedly become the target of terrorist plans, shows how Kerry’s approach can take hold and be effective if the government doesn’t magnify the threat. Fortunately, we in the Northwest are both calm and caffeinated enough that we notice suspicious behavior and report it. That’s just common sense, too.

Nineteen separate instances of “suspicious activity” thought to be related to terrorist activity have been reported by law enforcement, ferry workers and passengers since Sept. 11, 2001. We may be paranoid, but at least one of the people involved is the focus of an FBI terrorism investigation, but the point is that people going about their business and leisure make as good or better a defense against terrorism than the fear-mongering approach advocated by the Bush administration, which prefers a military approach and a society on the brink of martial law.

In fact, terrorism seems to be part of a redefined American mindset, according to the Bushies. As Dave Pell at electablog reports, President Bush today said that “our goal is not to reduce terror” and Vice President Cheney told an audience that “reducing terrorism” is “all part of a pre-9-11 mindset.”

We need to preserve American freedom, which requires we live free, reducing by force of will and the force of intelligent citizens the culture of fear that has been nursed by President Bush and his people. Senator Kerry sees that clearly, President Bush resists a decline in fear because it will allow people to challenge his absolutist simplifications.

So, this week during the last debate, when President Bush uses 9/11 as an excuse for the poor returns for all Americans from his massive tax cuts for the richest one percent, remember that fear is only a tool for diminishing our expectations. If we were to decide to live free from fear—intelligently—many of our domestic problems would evaporate rapidly. Vote Kerry.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer endorses Kerry

Washington may be already be counted in the Kerry column, but I found the reasons for the Seattle P-I’s endorsement of John Kerry to be succinct and on the mark:

Kerry is intellectually and ideologically equipped to succeed where Bush has failed. The obvious prospects for that success lie in his military, congressional and international experience, his superior intellectual curiosity and willingness to consider dissenting opinions, his commitment to protecting the civil liberties of all Americans and his potential to surround himself with a broad coalition of competent Cabinet members, staff and advisers.

The New Republic has run a very good series, “The Case Against Geoge W. Bush,” which has focused on Bush’s lack of curiosity and bloated self-aggrandizement that makes the same point in 18,000 words. What’s notable about the TNR argument is that magazine was aned is staunchly behind the war in Iraq, but still thinks we have the wrong commander in chief to win the peace.

You should read both, but the P-I’s makes short work of the reasons Kerry would be a better president.