Jim Kouri
August 1, 2005
Attempt to criminalize free speech fails
By Jim Kouri

With so much violent crime in America, and a serious terrorist threat with which to contend, the leaders of the Democrat National Committee decided to crack down on criminal behavior: they filed charges with the Federal Election Commission against television stations that dared to air a documentary considered harmful to their candidate for President of the United States during the 2004 election cycle.

The DNC filed charges against Sinclair Broadcast Group, their news commentator Mark Hyman, and one of Sinclair's vice presidents, Frederick Smith, alleging they violated FEC regulations. The complaint filed with the FEC was related to a documentary, "Stolen Honor," critical of John Kerry's service in Vietnam.

The documentary also showcased Senator Kerry's anti-war activities including his unsubstantiated claims of military atrocities committed in Vietnam. Sinclair aired portions of the documentary last October as part of a news special. A complaint was also filed by an individual in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, relating to commentaries by Mark Hyman that editorialized about Mr. Kerry. Sinclair contended they did not violate the federal election campaign act.

In a unanimous vote, all six of the FEC Commissioners agreed that Sinclair, Mr. Hyman and Mr. Smith did not violate any campaign finance laws and that their broadcast activities were protected by the "press exemption." All charges against the broadcasters were summarily dismissed. Apparently the DNC leadership believes the First Amendment does not apply to conservatives and the Republican Party.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies, will own and operate, program or provide sales services to 61 television stations in 38 markets, after pending transactions. Sinclair's television group includes FOX, WB, ABC, CBS, NBC, and UPN affiliates and reaches about 25 percent of all US television households.

No stranger to controversy, Sinclair's award-winning commentator, Mark Hyman, recently appeared on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," where he discussed his commentary calling for the resignation of Linda Foley, President of the Newspaper Guild of America (NGOA). Jennifer Gladstone of Sinclair's NewsCentral provided an exclusive report on the NGOA's allegation that the US military has been targeting journalists in Iraq a charge that the US military emphatically denies.

When asked to substantiate her allegations that the military are attempting to assassinate journalists, Foley refused to comment. The DNC also remained silent regarding Ms. Foley's accusations. Also peculiar although not surprising is the mainstream news media's silence on the Sinclair case and its outcome.

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© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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