Editor’s Note: Last night a janitor found the following memo in a dumpster inside the headquarters of Sinclair Broadcast Group in Hunt Valley, Maryland. He showed it to his mother, who faxed it to Press Clips, with the humble suggestion that her son, an anti-war and legalization activist, would make an excellent candidate for a profile in the Voice. Because of the explosive nature of the purloined memo, we have decided to withhold the identity of the source.
ABC Nightline Smear [DRAFT PRESS RELEASE]
The Sinclair Broadcast Group announced on Thursday that it will censor the April 30 edition of Nightline, in which Ted Koppel plans to read aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in Iraq. We think Nightline‘s ratings stunt is the moral equivalent of terrorism. As we will elaborate in this weaselly and unsigned statement, our decision to snuff out Nightline is a patriotic gesture aimed to tranquilize taxpayers and prevent them from recognizing the boondoggle in Iraq. As Sinclair CEO and president David Smith likes to remind us, serving the public interest is not in our self-interest.
No organization holds our media industry and the executives who use it to line their pockets in higher regard than Sinclair Broadcast Group. While Sinclair would support a mendacious effort to cover up the alarming number of Americans who have died in Iraq, Mr. Koppel is using simple, indisputable facts—names and photos of the dead, no less—to dramatize the war and give viewers a chance to judge its consequences. However, an informed citizenry is anathema to the corporate state, and we suspect that many of those currently working toward this goal have financial connections to Al Qaeda. Dick Cheney informs us that we are not alone in this viewpoint. As a result, we have decided to preempt the broadcast of Nightline this Friday on each of our ABC affiliates.
Sinclair owns 62 stations in 39 markets, including eight ABC affiliates. If that sounds like a monopoly, it is, and we got it the old-fashioned way—we shilled for it. In 2004, we gave 98 percent of our political donations, or $65,434, to GOP causes. We applaud the GOP’s support for deregulation, and we intend to return the favor by cheerleading for the war. Unlike the bad news bears at ABC, we think of ourselves as the Good News Network. In case you haven’t heard, 98 percent of Iraqis are thrilled by the U.S. occupation. We have hundreds of hours of footage of people who were paid to say so.
According to published reports, our reps have declined to be interviewed by ABC. It’s true we don’t trust them, but we’re also trying to boost our own ratings by broadcasting a “full debate” in the same time slot Friday night. We call on viewers across America to boycott ABC and, if possible, switch to our channels. At Sinclair, you’ll hear lies that are crafted to bolster the profits of warmongers and their media partners. As a bonus, we’ll be showing photos and reading the names of Al Qaeda operatives who are believed to be secretly funding the anti-war effort. According to our deep throats, one such operative was spotted in a Georgetown restaurant last month, dining with John McCain.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 27, 2004