Tuesday, October 12, 2004

No Democratic Media = No Democracy

The former is the Index of the latter. The mainstream media has so patently become the proaganda arm of the republican party that its past time that we had a new word for them. This is not news, it is not journalism. It should be illegal and would have been if the republicans hadn't dismantled the media regulations that were designed to guarantee balance. My advice would be boycott all of it - Sinclair, Fox, and the whole twisted pack of them. They can only get away with this because people will take it. They are still dependent on the audience. Unfortunately I know that won't happen and so do they. Their political ideology is embedded in all of their programming not just the so-called 'news' programs. Too many Americans are psychologically dependent on the myth of America such stations perpetrate. Everyday stations like Fox and Sinclair are building into the myth the idea that Liberal ideology threatens the security blanket the myth constitutes. Do they even care if its true? I might go as far as to suggest that America's addiction to its own myth of itself is the most dangerous drug of all.

From MediaChannel.org's News Dissector Blog:

It's been a while since we last heard from the Sinclair Broadcasting Company. You will recall that they were the folks who refused to air Ted Koppel's Nightline program naming the names of Americans killed in Vietnam. When we looked into it, we found that 97% of the political donations made by their execs were in the Bush Cheney campaign coffers.

Now they are back in the news with a report that they have ordered, make that ORDERED, their affiliates to broadcast a slanted documentary made by a former Washington Times reporter slamming John Kerry and his service in Vietnam. This story, first reported by Elizabeth Jenson in the LA Times has now been picked up around the country. Here's the Press Telegram version:

"The Sinclair Broadcast Group is ordering its TV stations across the country to air a documentary on the eve of the presidential election that attacks Sen. John Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activism, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"The one-hour program, "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," features former prisoners of war accusing Kerry, a decorated veteran who took up the antiwar cause upon returning from Vietnam, of prolonging the war and worsening their plight. The newspaper said the program is to be followed by a panel discussion to which Kerry will be invited, which could satisfy fairness regulations.

"It is expected to be broadcast between Oct. 21 and Oct. 24, depending on the city, the Times said, citing sources it didn't identify. A call by The Associated Press on Saturday to Sinclair's headquarters in Maryland was not immediately returned.

"Sinclair either owns or programs content for stations in 62 markets around the country, including Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Sacramento. Fourteen of the stations are located in such swing states as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

"Kerry campaign officials criticized the plan and said the candidate had not been invited to take part in any discussion."

Actually Sinclair later did invite Kerry to appear on a post film panel. He had the good sense to refuse to play the role of a patsy in this media set up.

From Jay Rosen's Blog

Los Angeles Times, Conservative TV Group to Air Anti-Kerry Film (Oct. 9).

The upcoming "Stolen Honor" will probably bring fresh attention to Sinclair. "I can't think of a precedent of holding up programming to show a political documentary at a point where it would have the maximum effect on the vote," said Jay Rosen, chairman of New York University's journalism department.

And I still can't.

This part is crucial:

...although broadcast stations are required to provide equal time to major candidates in an election campaign, the Sinclair move may not run afoul of those provisions if Kerry or a representative is offered time to respond. Moreover, several sources said Sinclair had told them it planned to classify the program as news, where the rules don't apply.

The sources Jensen had did not know much about this invitation to a "panel discussion" and the Kerry camp said no such invite came. But it's critical to Sinclair's strategy to make some public wave at fairness. The "news program" is that. You invite Kerry to his dismemberment, and then ask him if he wants to respond.

Of course he's going to say no, and you can say publicly: we gave him a chance, he turned us down. That's the thinking. (And sure enough, a Kerry spokesman, Chad Clanton, told the New York Times, "It's hard to take an offer seriously from a group that is hellbent on doing anything to help elect President Bush even if that means violating basic journalism standards.

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