Sinclair Doesn’t Mess Around: Reporter Fired for Speaking Out

The boys over at Sinclair don’t miss a beat in emulating their heroes in the Bush Administration — they’ve already shit-canned their Washington bureau chief (click here for the registration-free version of that article) over comments he made that were critical of Sinclair’s decision to force its stations to air an anti-Kerry program in prime time . Apparently, there’s no room for deliberation or debate in the Sinclair newsroom — just like the GW Bush White House.

Even if Sinclair is maintaining strict control over its own house, the bosses sure aren’t doing their stock any favors — it’s down another 12% since Oct. 11, when the anti-Kerry program plans came to light. USA Today lists out some other boneheaded antics that have investors pissed:

…[I]n at least 11 regulatory filings last year and this year, Sinclair blamed the Iraq war for $2.2 million in lost ad revenue. Sinclair’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission say the Iraq conflict prompted advertisers to cancel or forced stations to pre-empt ads for news. …

Investors also challenged Sinclair’s decision in 2002 to invest $20 million in Summa Holdings, an auto dealership controlled by CEO David Smith. This year Sinclair said it would make no additional investments in Summa.

Sinclair’s attempt to use the Iraq war as an excuse for lost ad revenue is especially ironic (or moronic) since the company heralded its coverage of “positive” news from Iraq filed in special reports by VP and reserve Naval intelligence officer Mark Hyman, who otherwise has no journalism training whatsoever. Sinclair claimed that other news organizations were focusing on the bad news — like continued terrorist attacks and US soldier deaths — at the expense of the so-called good news of newfound Iraqi freedom, which Sinclair would choose to highlight in these special reports.

Perhaps advertisers prefer to sponsor news that is a little more crafty about hiding its propaganda?

Even though I have no love for Wall Street, I’m glad to see that investors are also crtical of Sinclair’s more egregiously partisan and corrupt actions. It helps demonstrate the lie of ideological neo-conservatism — that somehow conservatives are better at running things due to “sound busines practices.”

Rather, neo-conservatives are better at lining their own pockets, rewarding cronies and punishing enemies. Sinclair is showing itself to be amongst the best at all of that within the broadcast industry. And that’s no easy feat when you’re up against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for the prize.