Equal Time Be Damned

The Sinclair Group wants to preempt prime time television to air the anti-Kerry documentary “Stolen Honor” coming up soon. They own sixty two telelvision statments, reaching 24% of the United States public. Fair minded people are up in arms over this, with good reason, because it violates the Communications Act of 1934’s “equal time” clause — or at least it walks a very fine line (which is why HR 4710 would be nice to pass, because it guarantees “that broadcasters afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance”, but it’s stuck in committee.)

Conservative echo chambers like NewsMax are calling it a witch-hunt and censorship. They’re trying to say that it’s justified, because of movies like Fahrenheit 911 that showed during the summer. Um, there’s a big difference between a movie in a theater and seeing one on ABC! That Sinclair wants to skirt the law and not perform their public duty as a television channel operator.Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004
The Democrat Senators Who Want to Censor Sinclair

We knew we’d get a load of messages from readers wanting to know the identity of the 18 anti-choice Democrat senators who oppose Sinclair Broadcast Group’s right to air “Stolen Honor,” a documentary that unmasks John Kerry. We wanted to know also, but a search of the wires yesterday revealed none of their names.

Today, however, the Mobile Register in Alabama named two of them: Kerry’s longtime mentor, Teddy Kennedy of Massachusetts, and Dianne Feinstein of California. The New York Times and Los Angeles today also named them and added another one we suspected: Patrick “Leaky” Leahy of Vermont.

Updates: The Springfield Journal-Register today confirmed another usual suspect: Dick Durbin of Illinois.

CNN reported this afternoon today that 20 senators had signed the letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell and that it had identified 17, including Feinstein, Leahy, Kennedy, Durbin, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, “Bill Nelson (D-NE)” (in reality there’s a Bill Nelson of Florida and a Ben Nelson of Nebraska), Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin of Michigan, Ron Wyden of Oregon, lame duck Bob Graham of Florida, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Harry Reid of Nevada, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, lame duck Ernest Hollings of South Carolina and Patty “Osama Mama” Murray of Washington.

CNN’s list notably omits two lefties facing re-election: Tom Daschle of South Dakota, in danger of being unseated by John Thune, and Barbara Boxer of California, who is ahead in polls.

Also a bit of a surprise: Lincoln likes to pose as a moderate, and Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, if that is indeed the Nelson who signed the letter, is one of the Dems’ few moderates left in the Senate.

And where is the always-ornery Robert Byrd?

Amusingly, the Democrats’ letter to Powell describes the documentary “Stolen Honor” as “an anti-Kerry attack ad expected to last approximately 90 minutes.” Jeepers, they forgot to describe all those recent Bush-hating movies as “anti-Bush attack ads that lasted approximately 90 minutes.”

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