Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Sinclair news of the day
A Vietnam veteran filed a libel lawsuit Monday claiming he was falsely portrayed as a fraud and a liar in a film criticizing Sen. John Kerry's anti-war activities.
Kenneth J. Campbell, now a professor at the University of Delaware, said in the suit that "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" combines footage of him appearing at a 1971 war protest with a voice-over that claims that many of the supposed veterans who took part in the event were later "discovered as frauds" who "never set foot on the battlefield, or left the comfort of the States, or even served in uniform."
The suit said viewers would be left with the perception that Campbell had lied about his military service and encouraged others to make up stories about war atrocities.
Campbell attached copies of his military records to the suit, showing that he received the Purple Heart medal and eight other medals, ribbons and decorations for his service as an artillery forward observer in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969.
The suit names the film's producer, Carlton Sherwood, and his company, Red White and Blue Productions, as defendants.
Jon Leiberman said he was fired by Joseph DeFeo, Sinclair's vice president for news, and "escorted out of the building."
"I was told I violated company policy by divulging information from a staff meeting to The (Baltimore) Sun in this morning's edition," Leiberman said late Monday.
..."They're using the news to drive their political agenda," Leiberman said. "I don't think it served the public trust."
Leiberman, 29, criticized his employer in an interview with The Sun published Monday. "I have nothing to gain here — and really, I have a lot to lose," he said in that interview.
...He added that Sinclair would not waive his noncompete agreement, which means he cannot work for a broadcast outlet in any market that has a Sinclair station.
Leiberman started with Sinclair in 2000 as a reporter for WBFF-TV in Baltimore, Sinclair's flagship station. He said late Monday, "I don't like not knowing where my next move will be and how I'm going to take care of my family."
He added: "I really feel like I can sleep at night and I can be OK with my decision" to criticize Sinclair publicly. ... I know I stood up for the principles of objectivity. In journalism, all we have is credibility and objectivity."