Friday, October 15, 2004

Kerry vs. Sinclair Broadcasting

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a Maryland based television broadcaster, is airing on its sixty two affiliates a scathing documentary of Senator John Kerry and his Vietnam service and post war activism. “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal” features footage of Kerry’s testimony in 1971 to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee along with interviews from POW’s and various other Vietnam veterans. In the 42-minute program former POW’s contend that Kerry’s televised testimony wherein he accused his fellow soldiers of war-time atrocities was shown to them as propaganda. Some POW’s have stated in the documentary that their captors were going to charge them with war crimes based on Kerry’s testimony. The controversial documentary claims that Kerry’s words demoralized the POW’s, emboldened their Vietnamese captors, and may have ultimately lengthened their imprisonment.

The Kerry campaign is up in arms against this show. In a brief written by campaign lawyers it is claimed that the “broadcast does not qualify for the exemption afforded to news stories under federal campaign finance law and thus would constitute an illegal corporate expenditure.” Sinclair stands by the fact that the documentary is indeed a news program of significant importance. The Kerry campaign has requested equal time on Sinclair but refuses to make the Senator available for response after the program is aired. Sinclair has invited Kerry to appear immediately following the film but campaign officials have declined.

On the face of it this smacks of a blatant case of political exploitation. After all, the veterans in the documentary have had thirty years to air their grievances as Kerry has led a VERY public life. And the timing of this film leads one to believe that this is a political hatchet job. How else could you explain the timing of the film barely two weeks before the election? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Not so fast my friends (thanks Lee Corso). The Fairness Doctrine that the Kerry Campaign sites has been repealed and unless this is a bona fide Republican rim job the documentary is exempt from campaign finance laws. The Kerry team claims “The documentary is clearly intended to advance the campaign of President Bush by attacking Senator Kerry's record”. Without evidence of a smoking gun this assertion is sheer conjecture. So much political smoke & mirrors.

The fact remains that Kerry has made his war record an issue and must take the fire. Besides, Sinclair as a licensed broadcaster has a right to air this documentary. Political life’s a beeyatch, wear a cup. Don’t attempt to sensor political speech because it may portray you in unflattering ways. Relax, chill, and let Junior hang himself.

Sun Tzu said it best in The Art of War…“To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself… the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him...the art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable”.