People Getting Pissed with Sinclair

I’ve learned that some local Champaign-Urbana activists are planning to picket our local Sinclair station, WICD-TV 15. In addition to Sinclair’s plan to air the anti-Kerry program, the activists also cite the slanted news commentary The Point with Mark Hyman as a key complaint.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been watching Sinclair and covering the company on my radioshow for a number of years now, and I’m glad to see people finally taking notice of the companies that own our local media outlets. It’s just too bad that it takes something as egregious as Sinclair’s plans to air “Stolen Honor” to get folks riled up.

The picket itself won’t make a difference to Sinclair or change the company’s mind — my bet is that they’ve gone too far to give in now. But one hopes it will attract other local media outlets (like Channel 15’s competition). All of this will at least embarass local station employees and help draw more attention to the wizards behind the curtain. It might even merit coverage by the channel’s own news staff, who, if they have any journalistic training at all, likely aren’t thrilled with “Stolen Honor.” It’s hard to justify ignoring a picket right in front of your studios. Unless, of course, Sinclair corporate sends strict orders to black it out.

The WICD news staff must know that most of them are only months away from being canned when the station flips from NBC to ABC affiliation and likely brings in Sinclair’s NewsCentral to replace the local newscast. The scuttlebutt is that NBC isn’t happy with it’s affiliates airing NewsCentral, which is why Sinclair is changing affiliation at its few NBC stations.

With all of Sinclair’s pro-war boosterism, it’s a bit strange to note that the station’s (still) local news did cover an appearance today of anti-war veteran and counselor Ray Parrish for a speaking engagement in town. I didn’t manage to see the story myself, but if the “headline” text on the website is any indication, it looks to have been pretty even-handed, “event”-type journalism.