Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Sinclair Hitting the Skids

In TPM, Josh Marshall has some interesting news about "Sinclair Cracking Under the Pressure":
Friday, October 22, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. central time) certain television stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. will air a special one-hour news program, entitled "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media." In order to minimize the interruption of normally scheduled programming in those markets where Sinclair owns and/or programs more than one television station, the news special will be broadcast on only one of those stations.
Contrary to numerous inaccurate political and press accounts, the Sinclair stations will not be airing the documentary "Stolen Honor" in its entirety. At no time did Sinclair ever publicly announce that it intended to do so. In fact, since the controversy began, Sinclair's website has prominently displayed the following statement: "The program has not been videotaped and the exact format of this unscripted event has not been finalized. Characterizations regarding the content are premature and are based on ill-informed sources."

Since these "ill-informed" sources are Sinclair executives themselves, it's not difficult to understand why Sinclair stock was off 3.54% today. As Atrios points out, "...$100,000,000 in shareholder value wiped away since October 9."

In the meantime, Media Matters has underwritten
(T)he costs of a shareholder action, demanding that Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., provide equal time to those "with views opposed to the allegations" in the anti-Kerry film Stolen Honor, which Sinclair plans to air between October 21-24, in prime time, on all 62 of its stations reaching up to 25 percent of U.S. TV households.

At 10 a.m. today, a letter from Glickenhaus & Co., a Wall Street firm with clients who hold stock in Sinclair, was delivered to the CEO of Sinclair, David D. Smith, and the company's board of directors, demanding that they immediately "provide those with views opposed to the allegations in the film an equal opportunity to respond." If an answer to Glickenhaus' demand is not received by close of business today, Tuesday October 19, additional remedies, including an injunction in a court of law prior to the first scheduled airing of Stolen Honor October 21, may be sought.

The BOD and executives at Sinclair might want to double-check how well their golden parachutes have been packed.


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