The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sinclair Broadcasting: From Swiftboating to Billy Budding

Hang on for a brieg excursion into the political Wayback Machine. Before last year's election, stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting were ordered to air a "documentary" which amounted to nothing more than a propagandistic character assassination of Kohn Kerry. Everyone remembers that, right? And everyone remembers how good it felt when the grassroots rose up in opposition and Sinclair had to back off. But the story went on from there.

. . .[Sinclair's] DC Bureau Chief, one Jonathan Lieberman took a stand, gave an interview to the Balitmore Sun, and called the effort "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election ... For me, it's not about right or left -- it's about what's right or wrong in news coverage this close to an election." (. . .)

Sinclair has continued to harass Lieberman ever since. And now comes word the sharks at Sinclair are suing Lieberman for giving the unauthorized interview. "Sinclair," this article
reports, "is also asking the court to order an accounting of the wages Leiberman earned working for another news outlet after Sinclair fired him."

The intrepid OD1 called this to my attention and gives a concise analysis that I'd say is spot-on:

. . .by filing this lawsuit against a former Sinclair employee who violated the cardinal rule of criticizing the prez or those around them, this serves as a warning for current employeees not to get out of line on this. That is, Sinclair Broadcasting is seeking to prevent journalists from doing their jobs, and enforcing the cheerleading rule by the intimidation of lawsuits and a threat to their job.

Maybe you could call this strongarm policy "scared crooked." It really isn't about the legal case. They're just counting on employees to avoid the hassle and conform. (Wow-- two neologisms in one post. I think I'm getting the hang of this.)