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Tuesday, Oct 19, 2004, 8:23 am

Clock ticking for Sinclair: Public pressure still needed

By Tracy Van Slyke
Since its announcement on October 9 that it would force all 62 of its local stations to air the "documentary," Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, Sinclair Broadcasting Group has received a public and finanical beating.

On Monday, Sinclair's Washington Bureau chief, Jon Lieberman said he was fired after he critized the company's plans to produce a news program based on the documentary (as if the false information in the documentary wasn't enough.)

And as of Monday's market close, the company's stock had dropped 13 percent, wiping out $90 million in shareholder value. This was obviously the result of major organizing and outreach, including:

1) Web sites, such as Sinclair Advertiser Boycott and Daily Kos have called on people to boycott Sinclair advertisers. An estimated 100,000+ calls have been made so far and press reports have advertisers pulling out from Wisconsin to Maine.
Continue making those phone calls!!!

2. Sinclairwatch.org has helped the public send letters to the FCC opposing the renewal of Sinclair's licenses. In three days 20,000 letters were filed, setting some kind of record, and the numbers are only rapidly increasing.
Add your voice to the protest!

3. Media Matters has a list of the top 20 mutual funds and six pension funds that hold Sinclair stock. People are contacting the companies with a call to "divest." Mutual fund managers like Gabelli, Janus, Vanguard and American Express have admitted that they are getting lots of calls on this.

And today, Media Matters has announced that it is:
"...underwriting the costs of a shareholder action, demanding that Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc., provide equal time to those "with views that opposed the allegations,.."
If you click on the above link, you can also read the letter that Glickenhaus & Co (whose clients have Sinclair stock) sent to Sinclair's CEO David D. Smith this morning. IF an answer to Glickenhaus' demand is not recieved by the end of today, "additional remedies, including an injunction in a court of law prior to the first airing of Stolen Honor October 21, may be sought."

We'll keep you updated on this legal action, but in the meantime there are only two more days until the first airing of the "documentary." Contact local stations, mutual funds, advertisers and Congressmen and let them know that the public will not stand for partisan lies disguised as unbiased news.

Tracy Van Slyke, a former publisher of In These Times, is the project director for The Media Consortium.

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