SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP UNPATRIOTIC
McCain to Sinclair: I protest your decision 4/30/2004 11:26:29 AM
ABC release on Sen. John McCain's letter to Sinclair Broadcast Group re "Nightline"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Crystal Benton
Friday, April 30, 2004
McCain Letter to Sinclair Broadcast on
Preemption of Nightline
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) issued the
following letter today to Mr. David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, in response to the preemption of this evening's Nightline program:
I write to strongly protest your decision to instruct Sinclair's ABC
affiliates to preempt this evening's Nightline program. I find deeply
offensive Sinclair's objection to Nightline's intention to broadcast the
names and photographs of Americans who gave their lives in service to our country in Iraq.
I supported the President's decision to go to war in Iraq, and remain a strong supporter of that decision. But every American has a responsibility to understand fully the terrible costs of war and the
extraordinary sacrifices it requires of those brave men and women who volunteer to defend the rest of us; lest we ever forget or grow
insensitive to how grave a decision it is for our government to order
Americans into combat. It is a solemn responsibility of elected
officials to accept responsibility for our decision and its consequences, and, with those who disseminate the news, to ensure that Americans are fully informed of those consequences.
There is no valid reason for Sinclair to shirk its responsibility in
what I assume is a very misguided attempt to prevent your viewers from completely appreciating the extraordinary sacrifices made on their behalf by Americans serving in Iraq. War is an awful, but sometimes necessary business. Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war's terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves.
Sinclair stations won't run "Nightline" tribute 4/29/2004 10:59:30 AM
NewsBlues.com is reporting [no free link] that Sinclair Broadcast Group has ordered its ABC-affiliated stations not to carry tomorrow's "Nightline," which will air the names and photos of soldiers who have been killed in combat in Iraq.
Sinclair General Counsel Barry Faber tells the site: "We find it to be contrary to the public interest."
The boycott will affect eight ABC-affiliated Sinclair stations.
STATEMENT OF THE SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP
The ABC Television network announced on Tuesday that the Friday, April 30th edition of "Nightline" will consist entirely of Ted Koppel reading aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in action in Iraq. Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.
While the Sinclair Broadcast Group honors the memory of the brave members of the military who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country, we do not believe such political statements should be disguised as news content. As a result, we have decided to preempt the broadcast of "Nightline" this Friday on each of our stations which air ABC programming.
We understand that our decision in this matter may be questioned by some. Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of the 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands of private citizens killed in terrorists attacks since and including the events of September 11, 2001. In his answer, you will find the real motivation behind his action scheduled for this Friday.
ABC NEWS STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO SINCLAIR
We respectfully disagree with Sinclair's decision to pre-empt "Nightline's" tribute to America's fallen soldiers which will air this Friday, April 30. The Nightline broadcast is an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country. ABC News is dedicated to thoughtful and balanced coverage and reports on the events shaping our world with neither fear nor favor -- as our audience expects, deserves, and rightly demands. Contrary to the statement issued by Sinclair, which takes issue with our level of coverage of the effects of terrorism on our citizens, ABC News and all of our broadcasts, including "Nightline," have reported hundreds of stories on 9-11. Indeed, on the first anniversary of 9-11, ABC News broadcast the names of the victims of that horrific attack.
In sum, we are particularly proud of the journalism and award winning coverage ABC News has produced since September 11, 2001. ABC News will continue to report on all facets of the war in Iraq and the War on Terrorism in a manner consistent with the standards which ABC News has set for decades.