Sinclair embracing publicity stemming from Media Matters attacks

WASHINGTON and HUNT VALLEY, MD: Sinclair Broadcast Group is calling a campaign launched by Media Matters for America "wholly irrelevant," but is welcoming the accompanying media attention, according to VP of corporate relations and on-air commentator Mark Hyman.

WASHINGTON and HUNT VALLEY, MD: Sinclair Broadcast Group is calling a campaign launched by Media Matters for America "wholly irrelevant," but is welcoming the accompanying media attention, according to VP of corporate relations and on-air commentator Mark Hyman.

"We can't buy better publicity," Hyman said.

Last week, Media Matters kicked off a campaign to draw attention to the conservative slant of the network.

David Bennahum, a senior fellow with Media Matters, said the organization's main issue with SBG is two regular features of its news broadcast: "The Point" and "Get This," both of which neglect to feature an opposing viewpoint. However, Hyman said that the nightly one-to-two minute segment, which he hosts, is clearly labeled as commentary and should not be subject to a counter opinion.

"I'm the counterpoint to Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Ted Koppel, and Peter Jennings," he said. "They do things that aren't news."

Media Matters, which has been closely monitoring SBG in the weeks since the election, is interested in meeting with SBG, Bennahum said. He hopes the two can work together to present a more balanced viewpoint.

"People haven't been [clued in] to what they've been doing since late October," Bennahum said. "They continue to broadcast a steady dose of conservative propaganda."

Hyman said that he isn't interested in having organizations such as Media Matters get involved with any aspect of the network's news operations.

"If they're really concerned, tell them to buy a TV station," Hyman added.

As part of the campaign, Media Matters has launched a website ? www.SinclairAction.com ? which is designed to provide updates on the campaign and SBG's response. It also encourages visitors to write letters to advertisers to simply inform them of Sinclair's conservative slant.

"We're not calling for a boycott," he added.

Hyman said he doesn't view the latest campaign, or any others waged by "the angry left" as a threat to SBG.

"I don't care what some obscure organization in New York City or Washington thinks," he said. "It doesn't keep me awake at night."

SBG most recently made news just weeks before the presidential election, when it announced that it would be airing a documentary deemed anti-Kerry by many liberals. After an advertiser boycott, the company aired a re-formatted version of the documentary.

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