. . . Tuesday October 26, 2004

When Things Got Tricky at Sinclair

Jon Lieberman on the “Foxing” of Sinclair:

People used to describe me as Sinclair Broadcast Group’s golden child. I was hired as a reporter at the company’s Baltimore flagship station, WBFF. Later I started the station’s investigative unit. When centralized newscasts began, Sinclair promoted me again, to jump-start its Washington bureau.

That’s when things got tricky.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, the traditional way of fairly and objectively covering news began to disintegrate at Sinclair.

… Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised. But at the time, I didn’t know how the company could, in good faith, call this documentary “news.” It didn’t serve the public trust to label it news. After a lot of introspection, I told the news department that I couldn’t take part in the project.

At Sinclair headquarters, nobody was happy with the project, as far as I could tell. But there was no room for dissension. Everyone was afraid for their jobs. My former colleagues are excellent journalists, but need to feed their families, and can’t afford to take the hit of being fired. And at Sinclair, everyone is expendable. That’s why nobody else did what I did and took a stand against Sinclair’s decision.

Lieberman was fired from Sinclair for speaking out about the broadcast group’s plans air an anti-Kerry documentary during the week before the election.

Concentration is important!