At least one station in the Sinclair network is losing advertisers, who are not pleased about being politically positioned, especially just before the election and without fair representation of other points of view. Not very fair for the station!
Sinclair stations reach about a quarter of all U.S. TV viewers. The company has been criticized for using its power to support conservative causes.
The company tapes nightly commentary pieces – featuring company vice president Hyman – and has its local stations air them. (emphasis mine!!!)
During an 11-day period in September, seven of the pieces focused on Kerry and were critical of him. The increasing partisanship may represent a growing trend in local TV broadcasting.
During the first 40 years of commercial television, broadcasters were required by the federal government to provide equal time to political candidates during an election and to provide programming that was in “the public interest.”
But the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” was abolished in 1987 as part of deregulation in the TV industry. In the 1990s, further deregulation allowed companies to own large numbers of stations, giving them more power and influence over the airwaves.
Actually most of the channels – ok, a couple of notable exceptions – still try to be fair. Late-night talk show hosts, for example, have all talked about what a pain in the neck it is to have equal time.
I still think the solution is for all the other networks to offer quality political programming focused on issues rather than revisionist history and slander. Give people a choice.