Is one of your local television stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group? Since Pres. Clinton effectively destroyed all obstacles to monopolistic control of the airwaves by signing the execrable Telecommunications Act of 1996 the number of television stations in America has increased, gut the number of companies owning them has decreased. Sinclair Broadcasting Group owns almost sixty television stations, so chances are you are watching one of them when you sit down to check up on your local news. You know that smarmy looking guy that comes on at the end of your LOCAL news to present a one to two minute commentary called The Point? Did you know he’s not just a local crackpot spouting fascist inanities in the face of factual evidence?
He’s not just some Geraldo Rivera journalist-wannabe either. The host of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s The Point—which takes up at least one minute of your LOCAL newscast is, in fact, a Vice President of the Sinclair. His name is Mark Hyman and he doesn’t just look like a dork, he is one. He would have to be, otherwise a dorky company like Sinclair Broadcasting would have nothing to do with him.
Remember a while back when Nightline wanted to air Ted Koppel reading the names of all US servicemen who’d been killed in action in Iraq up to that point? To give you an idea of how long ago that was, he only had 700 names to read; today he’d have almost 2600. Well, Sinclair Broadcasting said that it wouldn’t air Nightline on its ABC affiliates because it was politically motivated. It was partisan politics ,to read the names of those who’d been killed in Iraq. Ironically, Sinclair Broadcasting was making the point it didn’t really intend to make by banning the airing of that show. After all, if simply reading the names of dead soldiers is politically motivated, then wouldn’t that mean that Sinclair Broadcasting was admitting that their deaths were politically motivated? Has to be since it’s hard to imagine Sinclair Broadcasting banning the reading of all those Americans who died at Pearl Harbor. Food for thought.
But to get back to the point. Sinclair Broadcasting would not allow its ABC affiliates to show Ted Koppel doing anything more than reading a list of names because it was tantamount to partisan politics. What Sinclair didn’t consider to be partisan politics was attempting to force its affiliates—just weeks before the 2004 election—to air in prime time the anti-Kerry film in which a ragtag group of disgruntled Vietnam vets lied about Kerry’s wartime service. Putting aside for the moment what is and isn’t true about that controversy, how could Sinclair Broadcasting justify those decisions, especially in light of the fact that it was a Bush advisor behind the whole smear campaign. (Not to mention that Karl Rove was behind the whole thing anyway). That doesn’t qualify as partisan politics, but reading the names of dead soldiers does?
But to get back to Mark Hyman and The Point. What exactly is the point of showing Hyman offering ill-informed and misguided editorials on a whole host of topics that have nothing to do with any of the topics of local news you just watched for the past 27 minutes? Once you get rid of commercials, promos, weather, sports and hyping the network’s stars, most local newscasts only offer at most five to seven of real hard local news anyway. Sinclair Broadcasting stations now don’t even get that much. Hyman’s nightly tirades consistently have him walking in goose-stepping line with Pres. Bush’s policies. Not one single segment of The Point has ever criticized Pres. Bush. Not one. Ever. I mean even Bill O’Reilly criticizes Bush once or twice a year. Not so Mark Hyman. I guess to this guy Bush is God.
But that’s beside the point. After all, Mark Hyman is entitled to his opinion. The problem is that nobody else is entitled to theirs. I have e-mailed my local Sinclair Broadcasting station on several occasions asking that I be allowed to respond to Mark Hyman’s ultra-right wing tirades. After all, I figured since I was born and raised in this town, lived here almost all my life, and since Hyman has been allowed to state his opinion every single day since Sinclair took over the station without there ever once being a statement offering an oppositional viewpoint that I had a pretty good argument for being allowed on air. I never received a reply.
So I called WEAR-TV at 850-456-3333 and asked to be connected with someone regarding the nightly segment on the LOCAL news called The Point. I waited and I waited and I waited. And finally my connection was terminated. So I called again the next day asking to speak to someone about a news item of local interest. (See, I learned my lesson!) When I got through to a reporter I asked her if I could speak to someone about offering a rebuttal to The Point. I was told I’d have to speak to the General Manager, but that person was out of the office at that point and could I call back the next day. I called back asking for the General Manager and was led to a voicemail. I left my voicemail asking if I could respond to The Point. Any of them. I didn’t care which one. I just wanted to be allowed to offer an opposing viewpoint.
I’m still waiting for them to return my phone call.
You see, my main concern is not with Mark Hyman and his idiotic statements. My main concern is that Sinclair Broadcasting owns these stations. If they wanted to force feed their fascist dogma down the throats of those who eat that kind of garbage up, they have recourse to time throughout the schedule to do it. Heck, they could pre-empt one of those godless, soulless, liberal propaganda prime time series that airs every night. But, um, those godless, soulless, liberal propaganda prime time series earns Mark Hyman his salary, so I guess that won’t happen. Show you how much his principles are worth.
Just don’t try to tell me that Mark Hyman getting his facts wrong about everything from Vietnam to pension reform is local news. I already have to put up with the fact that most of the local news on WEAR is recycled network news and sports. How can Sinclair Broadcasting get away with this crap?
I blame Pres. Clinton for signing that stupid bill when he should have known better.