NEW YORK: Left-wing bloggers are trying to prevent Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) from airing a documentary they consider hostile to John Kerry by hitting the company where it hurts most - the wallet.
One site, www.boycottsbg.com, has posted a list of SBG's advertisers, asking visitors to threaten boycotts if they continue advertising with SBG stations. Other websites, www.stopsinclair.org and political blog www.dailykos.com, have organized petitions and are suggesting ways to peacefully target SBG's advertisers.
The controversy stems from SBG's decision to broadcast Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, which details Kerry's antiwar efforts after his service in Vietnam, in prime time on 62 stations this month.
As of late last week, the boycott efforts were meeting with some success. HER Real Living, a real-estate company with 30 offices in Central Ohio, had pulled ads from Sinclair's local Fox and ABC affiliates, said marketing and communications director Tara Rogers.
"One of our goals is to ensure that our advertising messages are not associated with, or supportive of, either political party," she said via e-mail.
Virginia-based Shirley & Banister Public Affairs has been handling PR efforts for the documentary and its producer, Carlton Sherwood.
In referring to the current boycott movement, Diana Banister, VP and partner, said, "I don't think we can squash it.
"People have as much right to complain about Sinclair broadcasting as we do about any station that would broadcast Michael Moore's documentary," she said. "The Stolen Honor folks have as much right to be aired as anyone else, and even more so."
Calls to SBG's Baltimore headquarters were not returned.
This is not the first time SBG has been accused of political bias. The company instructed seven of its stations in April not to air a Nightline segment in which host Ted Koppel read the names of US troops killed in action, claiming ABC was "motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the [US'] efforts in Iraq."