Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

David 1, Goliath 0

Goliath has been, well, not killed, but stunned by David’s slingshot. Sinclair Broadcasting is the media monolith that tried to purchase the White House for George W. Bush by forcing all 62 of its TV stations to air an anti-Kerry hit piece. Sinclair’s TV stations reach 24% of the viewing public, including some of the fiercest battleground states. All Sinclair stations were going to be forced to pre-empt regular programming in order to air this “documentary.”

More and more lately, it seems like the corporate thugs who have hijacked our country – our lives – have absolutely no responsibility, no accountability, towards We The People. But sometimes there’s a vulnerable spot, and this time the incredible groundswell of public outrage found its way to Sinclair’s jugular: the company’s stock price.

Several large institutions, including unions and pension funds, pressured their fund managers to dump Sinclair’s stock. The ensuing panic among investors and Wall Street movers and shakers has hit Sinclair where it lives: Its stock price plummeted 15%. A group of Sinclair investors threatened to sue the broadcaster if it went ahead with its plans to air the anti-Kerry hit piece. Additionally, a group led by a New York hospital-employees pension fund announced it would sue to recover damages from any financial fallout (fines, boycotts, etc.) resulting from the showing of the film. The boycott of Sinclair, which has been building for the past 10 days or so, was starting to get results; several large clients have pulled their ads from Sinclair stations.

Sinclair has announced it will air “excerpts” from the film during a news segment on Friday. And, to save face, they’re now claiming they never had any definite plans to air the entire “documentary.” You know the drill: Step 1 – insert tail between legs; Step 2 – start rationalizing.

So, for this one brief incident – no, it’s way too early to get complacent or let your guard down – but for this fleeting ephemeral moment, we can swell up with patriotic pride and say The System Works!

For the right now, the score (but the game isn’t over yet) is David 1, Goliath 0.

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