WASHINGTON -- December 14 -- Media Matters for America today launched a nationwide initiative to draw attention to the conservative slant in Sinclair Broadcasting Group's television news programming. The campaign, supported by MoveOn.org, MediaChannel, Working Assets, Robert Greenwald, Director of Outfoxed, Campaign for America's Future, FreePress, and Alternet, aims to spur action against Sinclair Broadcast Group's use of the 62 television stations it owns and operates to systematically promote partisan political interests above all others. Of particular concern is a nightly "news" commentary titled "The Point" in which Sinclair Vice President Mark Hyman espouses one-sided, conservative rhetoric without any counterpoint. The vehicle for the initiative is a new website www.SinclairAction.com where citizens can register concerns directly with companies that advertise on Sinclair stations.
"We believe Sinclair is abusing its stewardship of the airwaves licensed to it on behalf of the American people," said David Brock, president and CEO of Media Matters for America. "The nightly commentaries offered on 'The Point' reflect a persistent pattern at Sinclair, which promotes partisan political interests even at the expense of their purported commitment to responsible news programming."
In a press release issued in response to public outcry over Sinclair's plans to air the controversial documentary "Stolen Honor" in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, Sinclair executives made a commitment to "the highest journalistic standards and integrity" and "to presenting both sides of the issues covered in an equal and impartial manner."
However, a systematic analysis of editions of "The Point" aired between November 2, 2004 and December 1, 2004 by Media Matters for America found that Hyman's commentaries do anything but "present both sides of the issues": Hyman made repeated attacks on prominent progressive leaders and members of the Democratic party (including Senator John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton), unsubstantiated charges of liberal media bias, derogatory references to "The Angry Left", and ardent support of President George W. Bush and his policies.
Media Matters for America sent letters to both Sinclair's CEO, David D. Smith, and to major advertisers on the station, including Kraft, Target, Staples, Sprint PCS, McDonalds, and Geico, asking that they work together in good faith to ensure responsible news programming in the public's best interest. MoveOn.org along with other supporters will send emails to their membership directing them to www.SinclairAction.com where they can take action. "We believe the fairest way to ensure balance on these public airwaves is for Sinclair to provide a meaningful opportunity for opposing views to be heard opposite 'The Point'," said Brock. "This new website provides concerned citizens a mechanism for insisting on balance on Sinclair broadcasts."
An analysis of Sinclair's "The Point" is available at SinclairAction.com, along with a discussion forum for Americans to share their views on the subject, and a mechanism to track and contact advertisers appearing on Sinclair's news broadcasts.
Sinclair Broadcasting Group boasts a history of using public airwaves to promote a partisan, political agenda. In just one week's time last October more than 150,000 people signed an online petition of citizens who wanted to stop Sinclair Broadcasting Group from airing the Anti-Kerry film.