BALTIMORE: Sinclair Broadcast Group's (SBG) announcement last week that it would not air a documentary about John Kerry's antiwar efforts after his service in Vietnam hasn't squashed protests.
Bloggers are still pressuring SBG to cancel an upcoming broadcast featuring excerpts from the controversial documentary or else offer an equal response from Kerry's camp.
At press time, a news special titled A POW Story: Politics, Pressure, and the Media, which includes portions of the controversial documentary Stolen Hon- or: Wounds That Never Heal, was scheduled to air on more than 40 stations this Friday. A statement from SBG maintained it never actually intended to air the entire documentary.
Nick Davis, founder of www.boycottsbg.com, refutes this claim and has posted a screen shot from Yahoo TV listings, posted before SBG's announcement, which shows the title of the full-length documentary.
"We're not satisfied," he said. "We think this is just a rebranding of the same content and a way to escape the political, legal, and social pressure."
SBG's announcement came on the heels of a declining stock price, allegations of insider trading, and news of Jon Leiberman, SBG Washington bureau chief, being fired for opposing the airing of the documentary. In a statement, SBG president and CEO David Smith said the company had endured "calls on our advertisers and our viewers to boycott our stations, and on our shareholders to sell their stock."
Burger King, for example, recently decided not to advertise on the scheduled broadcast day.
"They didn't want to appear to be associated with any given political party," said Eric Anderson of Coltrin & Associates, the company's PR firm.
The response to boycottsbg.com, which has links to other liberal blogs protesting SBG's actions, has been overwhelming: Since its October 9 debut, Davis said the site has received 1 million hits, which amounts to approximately 300,000 visitors.