85 HOUSE DEMOCRATS ASK FCC TO INVESTIGATE BROADCASTING OF ANTI-KERRY FILM

Sinclair Broadcasting’s Plans May Violate Equal Time Rules, Broadcast Would Reach Nearly 25 Percent of America

For Immediate Release:

October 13, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Democratic Leadership, including Leader Nancy Pelosi, Whip Steny Hoyer, Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez, and Vice Chairman Jim Clyburn, was joined by 81 members of the House Democratic Caucus in writing to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell today to request an FCC investigation into Sinclair Broadcasting Inc.’s decision to pre-empt regular programming on its 62 affiliates across the country in order to air a 90-minute anti-Kerry attack before the November 2nd election:

"The American public, which owns the airwaves that Sinclair would use for its partisan political purposes, expects the FCC to uphold the basic principle of fairness which is at the root of our democracy.

"If Sinclair Broadcasting is allowed to proceed with this broadcast it is difficult to understand how equal time policies will not have been violated," wrote the 85 members of Congress.

Below are the full text of the letter and a list of signatories:

October 13, 2004

The Honorable Michael Powell
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Room 8-A204A
Washington, DC 20554
 

Dear Chairman Powell:

We write to express our concern regarding Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc.’s plan to preempt regular programming on its affiliates in order to air a 90-minute anti-Kerry attack before the November 2nd election.

We ask you to investigate the broadcasting of this anti-Kerry propaganda immediately before a presidential election by a company with a history of using public airwaves to broadcast its political positions and to determine if it is a proper use of public airwaves or if it violates current equal time policies.

Sinclair Broadcasting owns 62 Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, WB and UPN affiliates which reach 24 percent of U.S. households.  Its decision to blatantly use public airwaves for political use, to attempt to cover-up that attack as “news programming,” and to disingenuously invite Senator Kerry to a panel discussion to meet fairness requirements would seem to violate current law and regulation.

The American public, which owns the airwaves that Sinclair would use for its partisan political purposes, expects the FCC to uphold the basic principle of fairness which is at the root of our democracy.

If Sinclair Broadcasting is allowed to proceed with this broadcast it is difficult to understand how equal time policies will not have been violated.
     
We urge you to investigate this matter without delay, and would appreciate an immediate reply regarding your intentions to investigate these allegations.

List of signatories:

1. Rep. Steny Hoyer
2. Rep. Nancy Pelosi
3. Rep. Henry Waxman
4. Rep. Louise Slaughter
5. Rep. Robert Menendez
6. Rep. Frank Pallone
7. Rep. Jan Schakowsky
8. Rep. Bernie Sanders
9. Rep. John Conyers
10. Rep. George Miller
11. Rep. John Olver
12. Rep. James Clyburn
13. Rep. Robert Brady
14. Rep. Lane Evans
15. Rep. Richard Neal
16. Rep. Betty McCollum
17. Rep. Luis Guitierrez
18. Rep. Maurice Hinchey
19. Rep. Gary Ackerman
20. Rep. Steve Israel
21. Rep. Edolphus Towns
22. Rep. Chakah Fattah
23. Rep. Lois Capps
24. Rep. Peter Deutsch
25. Rep. Ellen Tauscher
26. Rep. Carolyn Maloney
27. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez
28. Rep. Tom Allen
29. Rep. Diana DeGette
30. Rep. Robert Matsui
31. Rep. Jim McDermott
32. Rep. Tom Lantos
33. Rep. Rosa DeLauro
34. Rep. Loretta Sanchez
35. Rep. Steve Rothman
36. Rep. Joe Crowley
37. Rep. Lynn Woolsey
38. Rep. Alcee Hastings
39. Rep. Zoe Lofgren
40. Rep. Pete Stark
41. Rep. Hilda Solis
42. Rep. Max Sandlin
43. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez
44. Rep. Jim Moran
45. Rep. Don Payne
46. Rep. Adam Schiff
47. Rep. Chris Bell
48. Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald
49. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
50. Rep. David Price
51. Rep. John Tierney
52. Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick
53. Rep. Jay Inslee
54. Rep. Sander Levin
55. Rep. Elliot Engel
56. Rep. Mike Honda
57. Rep. Sam Farr
58. Rep. Danny Davis
59. Rep. Peter DeFazio
60. Rep. Shelley Berkley
61. Rep. Earl Blumenauer
62. Rep. Michael Doyle
63. Rep. Al Wynn
64. Rep. Charles Rangel
65. Rep. Kendrick Meek
66. Rep. Solomon Ortiz
67. Rep. Elijah Cummings
68. Rep. Greg Meeks
69. Rep. Ben Chandler
70. Rep. Barney Frank
71. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
72. Rep. James Oberstar
73. Rep. Maxine Waters
74. Rep. Ted Strickland
75. Rep. Anna Eshoo
76. Rep. Nita Lowey
77. Rep. Tammy Baldwin
78. Rep. Robert Wexler
79. Rep. Bart Stupak
80. Rep. James McGovern
81. Rep. Timothy Ryan
82. Rep. Silvestre Reyes
83. Rep. Tom Udall
84. Rep. Bob Etheridge
85. Rep. David Obey

 

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