By now, everybody knows that Sinclair Broadcasting, a company with 62 TV stations, is going to run a 90 minute movie critical of John Kerry's actions upon his return from Vietnam in the early 1970's. Every news article (and the histrionic press release from the DNC in an attempt to prevent its broadcast) makes note of the significant chunks of cash donated by Sinclair Broadcasting's employees (about $55,000). Even articles that are neutral or somewhat sympathetic to Sinclair raise this point, as if it were an indictment of some typeThey contributed money to Bush, so they must be partisan. Well, I took a look at some figures from the Center for Responsive Politics (http://www.opensecrets.org) and found some interesting numbers. Let's look at employee contributions to Bush, Kerry, the DNC, and the RNC this election cycle. This does not include contributions to other Democratic presidential candidates, to congressional candidates (overwhelmingly Democratic offerings), or to 527 groups such as MoveOn (which are again overwhelmingly Democratic adjuncts).
Time Warner (owns CNN, the WB, and AOL):*
Viacom (owns UPN and many cable channels):
Yahoo! (Major web portal and search engine):
Google (Major web portal and search engine):
*Some of you probably noticed that asterisk next to Time Warner. I noticed as I sifted through the data for them that there was a distinct disparity in donations from the cable side of the house, IRT to the rest of the company. I re-sorted the data and came up with this:
Time Warner (excluding T-W Cable):
Time Warner Cable:
These numbers bring Time Warner's figures in much closer to the other companies listed above.
So, what does all this mean? If Sinclair is biased simply because of their donation pattern, all of the above companies are similarly tainted, only in the opposite direction.
Some will complain that Sinclair is attempting to influence the election. If so, then why are they not going after newspapers that endorse candidates? After all, both the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have endorsed Kerry; using McAuliffe's logic (and I use the term loosely) they should be getting the same treatment from the Republicans. Additionally, these people are not upset about Michael Moore's plan to run Fahrenheit 9/11 the night before the election on pay-per-view. It's not quite the same thing, as pay-per-view requires a conscious effort on the part of the viewer to seek it out and pay $10 to see it, but people who do not want to watch Stolen Honor will be able to change the channel. The Democrats are taking the arrogant approach (again) that the people are mindless sheep, unable to change the channel because they can't find The Gilmore Girls that night. Apparently, they feel that viewing anything that is not pre-screened by the Democratic Party will bring about the downfall of the nation. In this case, the only thing that will fall down is John Kerry's already shaky stature. It also bears noting that Sinclair's channels only reach 24 percent of the country; Moore's pay-per-view thing will be nationwide. In both cases, however, the First Amendment protects their right to free expression, and the Fairness Doctrine is dead and buried, so the "equal time" demands emanating from DNC headquarters is just empty partisan sniveling.
posted on October 13, 2004 11:57 AM
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