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Stolen honor: When turnabout isn't fair play

By Frank Salvato
web posted October 18, 2004

The word equity has been removed from the American political lexicon. What is good for the Democratic goose is not good for the Republican gander. While this issue plays out in nearly every aspect of the political game -- 527s, FEC rulings, fundraising and ethics -- it is best exhibited by the inequity in the mainstream media.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md

Recently, the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over the proposed airing of a news documentary titled "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal." The Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which has 62 television stations -- some in important swing states -- plans to air the news documentary in prime time before the November election. The film revolves around John Kerry and the events that took place in his life after his return from Vietnam. SBG has asked Kerry to join in a panel discussion about the content of the documentary but the Kerry campaign has responded negatively.

The DNC complaint contends that because the documentary's content deals exclusively with John Kerry's post-service anti-war actions it should be considered an "illegal in-kind contribution" to the Bush campaign. Of course this would mean one of two things. Either Kerry is embarrassed by the actions he took after his return from Vietnam and now recognizes that lying about his "Band of Brothers" before Congress was "a bad thing" or he is admitting that his anti-war protest days are a detriment to his current political ambitions. This is the quintessential definition of oxymoron. If John Kerry was proud of his anti-war protest participation why would a documentary spotlighting that very period of his life be so outrageous? If he isn't a political opportunist why would he be afraid of the truth about his past? To that end, why hasn't the good senator signed his Form 180? To say the least, the concocted transparency of candidate Kerry has been shattered by his protest of this issue. This further exposes the disingenuous political charlatan that lurks in this man's soul.

The story doesn't end there. 18 liberal US Senators have sent a letter to the FCC asking it to investigate whether or not SBG's plan is an improper use of public airwaves. I suppose it's more appropriate for the Liberals in Congress to champion Janet Jackson's breast than it is for them to champion the right of at least one honest media outlet to bring the facts to the American public. FCC Chairman Michael Powell has declined to take action because, by FCC rules, a program must first be aired before a complaint can be entertained.

Meanwhile, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe said the company was acting as "a mouthpiece for the Republican Party" rather than a legitimate news outlet. "In this election cycle, [SBG] have put their money where their right-wing mouths are," he said. "Sinclair's owners aren't interested in news. They're interested in pro-Bush propaganda."

It continues to be incredible that McAuliffe and his gaggle of operatives persist on alleging there is a conservative bias in the media. One only has to look at the multitude of recent ethical encroachments by the mainstream media to invalidate his ridiculous contention. The admitted bias at The New York Times, the admitted opinion poll manipulation at The Los Angeles Times, the memo scandal at CBS News and now, ABC News being exposed for scrutinizing President Bush more harshly than candidate Kerry all point to a cadre of media liberalism. But then McAuliffe could stand in the middle of a hurricane at midnight and tell you it's high noon and sunny, and do so with a smile on his face. Such is his disregard for the truth.

Irony isn't far away. Michael Moore is feverishly working to have his crock-u-mentary, Fahrenheit 911, aired nationally on October 31st of this year, just two days before the election. Funny how we don't hear the charge "illegal in-kind contribution" coming from the Conservative side of the aisle even though 91 "facts" in Monsieur Moore's film have been discredited. Moore will probably succeed in getting his Goebbels inspired propaganda aired, albeit as a pay-per-view offering (wouldn't want to lose the profits on that now would you, Michael?).

It will be interesting to see if the FEC decides to rule on this issue now or whether they will wait until after the November elections as they saw fit to do on the matter of the 527s. If they choose to wait it can be assumed they either enjoy having their heads firmly planted in the sand or have absolutely no spine whatsoever. If they choose to act and strike out against the right of the American public to be informed of the truth then I guess we have our answer about the existence of the double standard in today's political arena. Either way, their decision will be telling.

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant and the managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared as a guest on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us.

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