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Conservative TV Group to Air Anti-Kerry Film
Sinclair, with reach into many of the nation’s homes, will preempt prime-time shows. Experts call the move highly unusual.
By Elizabeth Jensen, Times Staff Writer
NEW YORK — The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose television outlets reach nearly a quarter of the nation’s homes with TV, is ordering its stations to preempt regular programming just days before the Nov. 2 election to air a film that attacks Sen. John F. Kerry’s activism against the Vietnam War, network and station executives familiar with the plan said Friday.
Sinclair’s programming plan, communicated to executives in recent days and coming in the thick of a close and intense presidential race, is highly unusual even in a political season that has been marked by media controversies.
Sinclair has told its stations — many of them in political swing states such as Ohio and Florida — to air “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal,” sources said. The film, funded by Pennsylvania veterans and produced by a veteran and former Washington Times reporter, features former POWs accusing Kerry — a decorated Navy veteran turned war protester — of worsening their ordeal by prolonging the war. Sinclair will preempt regular prime-time programming from the networks to show the film, which may be classified as news programming, according to TV executives familiar with the plan.
Executives at Sinclair did not return calls seeking comment, but the Kerry campaign accused the company of pressuring its stations to influence the political process.