Thursday, November 08, 2012

TV-station company with large rural audience criticized for airing 'biased' election special

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a company that owns 74 TV stations, many of them with large rural audiences, aired what critics say was a biased election special in battleground states Monday night. The half-hour broadcast, shown on at least three stations in Ohio and Florida, is being called a partisan attack on President Obama. Sinclair was criticized in 2004 for planning to air a documentary it made attacking Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

WSYX graphic
ABC affiliate WSYX in Columbus aired the specials, "which included content prepared by their corporate parent company," twice during times when national news programs were scheduled, Eric Lach of Talking Points Memo reports. The programs did include some favorable comments about Obama, but the criticism of him was "elevated, while Mitt Romney seemed to escape the bulk of the attention," Lach writes. He says segments about health-care reform, the economy and foreign policy seemed to lean toward Republican views on the issues.

Similar scripts were used for specials on WRGT in Dayton and WPEC in West Palm Beach, Fla. Merrill Knox of TVSpy reports. WSYX and WRGT employees told Lach that the content was prepared by Sinclair and sent to them to be aired. To watch the entire WPEC broadcast, which is very similar to the other two broadcasts, click here.

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