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If Sinclair is Biased...
by Raymond Green
03 May 2004

There’s something farcical about the left-wing media reporting charges of “bias” by a conservative broadcasting company.


There’s something farcical about the US press reporting charges of “bias” and “corruption” by a conservative broadcasting company.

Ted Koppel read the names of the more than 500 fallen soldiers in Iraq on ABC’s Nightline and the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. decided to preempt the broadcast on its stations that air ABC programming. Sinclair stated the preemption was intended to prevent ABC from aggrandizing what it thought to be an antiwar movement and issued a statement on its website explaining the motive behind the decision.

In the statement Sinclair issued, they concealed nothing. They pronounced their support of the war, their support of the soldiers and their support of the President’s decision to go to war. Essentially they said, “We’re biased, here’s our opinion.”

Fair enough. We know where Sinclair stands on the war and the motive behind their decision. As for ABC, that is another story.

What was their motive in the broadcast? Was it the May ratings race? No, Koppel denied that May sweeps had anything to do with it in an interview on CNN. He went so far as to deny even knowing it was May sweeps night. After all these years in broadcasting, Koppel apparently had no idea his broadcast was on the second night of sweeps. However, he did state that he knew the schedule of the Indianapolis 500 throughout May and that airing the broadcast on Memorial Day would cause it to get “lost.” 

Koppel also denied that his broadcast was intended to encourage antiwar sentiment. He has, however, admitted the broadcast was inspired by an issue of Life magazine in June of 1969 that contained two pages of pictures of the men who died over the course of a week in Vietnam that “had an enormous impact.”

What kind of impact? The BBC – hardly a White House affiliate – cites in its history of the Vietnam War the following:

On 27 June, 1969, Life magazine displayed portrait photos of all 242 Americans killed in Vietnam during the previous week, including the 46 killed at 'Hamburger Hill.' The impact of these photos, and some of the faces behind the numbers, stunned Americans and increased anti-war sentiment in the country.

If Koppel was aware of the “impact” the issue of Life had and chose to replicate it, he is disingenuous in stating that it isn’t intended to fuel antiwar sentiment.

What’s more troubling than ABC’s exploitation of fallen soldiers to further an agenda is the press’s coverage of the controversy with Sinclair.

Sinclair is practicing censorship; Sinclair is biased; Sinclair is sucking up to the White House to advance liberalizing regulations limiting ownership in the media. That is what you get from the mainstream media.

In the previously mentioned interview on CNN, Koppel was given questions that ended with, “I don’t quite get the [analogy offered by Sinclair] but I put it to you” and “I got to tell you, if you did think [it would boost your ratings], there was a Michael Jackson hearing today, and you've got to get some better people advising you on how to boost ratings.” That’s the kind of hard hitting investigative journalism we’re looking for.

MSNBC.com covered the story just as efficiently. They opened with 22 paragraphs overwhelmingly critical of Sinclair before the subtitle Sinclair defends decision appears. This section, by implication supposed to be Sinclair’s response, opens with, “Maryland-based Sinclair, whose holdings include 62 TV stations, made $65,434 in 2004 political donations — 98 percent of that to Republicans and 2 percent to Democrats.” Followed by 2 short paragraphs explaining Sinclair’s position, the story immediately (under the same subsection) resorts to covering the criticism of the decision.

I could go on and on but there’s no sense in being redundant. Hard stretched, I only found more ridiculous coverage of the decision by Al Jazeerah. 

Where is Bob Woodward when you need a real investigation? ABC essentially slides through a program with as close of an admission to bias as we’ll get (by admitting the broadcast was inspired by the June issue of Life in 1969), and Sinclair is covered overwhelmingly as the biased outlet. Sinclair admits where they stand while Koppel insists he’s objective. After all, he won’t even wear a flag on his suit while exploiting our fallen heroes for his political agenda and May sweeps. How could you be biased if you won’t even where a flag?

Sinclair is accused of influencing the news while CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and nearly every other media outlet skew what people hear and read on a daily basis. A bipartisan group returned from Iraq about 6 months ago stating that the coverage of the situation in Iraq was far better than what we were being told by the media. I believe that the motives of Sinclair are more sincere than Koppel’s ridiculous attempt to portray objectivity, and the decision by Sinclair makes far more sense than the same media distorting every other issue cares to acknowledge.

Raymond Green's website is SupportNoSpin.com
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