Tales of freedom of speech, Pt. 2
So Nightline decided to devote its entire Friday broadcast to reading the names of soldiers killed in action in Iraq. Sounds simple enough, right? A tribute to soldiers. How could anyone be against that?
STATEMENT OF THE SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP
The ABC Television network announced on Tuesday that the Friday, April 30th edition of “Nightline” will consist entirely of Ted Koppel reading aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in action in Iraq. Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.
While the Sinclair Broadcast Group honors the memory of the brave members of the military who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country, we do not believe such political statements should be disguised as news content. As a result, we have decided to preempt the broadcast of “Nightline” this Friday on each of our stations which air ABC programming.
We understand that our decision in this matter may be questioned by some. Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of the 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands of private citizens killed in terrorists attacks since and including the events of September 11, 2001. In his answer, you will find the real motivation behind his action scheduled for this Friday.
ABC NEWS STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO SINCLAIR
We respectfully disagree with Sinclair's decision to pre-empt "Nightline's" tribute to America's fallen soldiers which will air this Friday, April 30. The Nightline broadcast is an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country. ABC News is dedicated to thoughtful and balanced coverage and reports on the events shaping our world with neither fear nor favor -- as our audience expects, deserves, and rightly demands. Contrary to the statement issued by Sinclair, which takes issue with our level of coverage of the effects of terrorism on our citizens, ABC News and all of our broadcasts, including "Nightline," have reported hundreds of stories on 9-11. Indeed, on the first anniversary of 9-11, ABC News broadcast the names of the victims of that horrific attack.
In sum, we are particularly proud of the journalism and award winning coverage ABC News has produced since September 11, 2001. ABC News will continue to report on all facets of the war in Iraq and the War on Terrorism in a manner consistent with the standards which ABC News has set for decades.
I love that part in ABC's response statement. "Umm, we did broadcast the names of September 11 victims." "Oh." ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos routinely broadcasts killed soldier's names at the end of each show. I guess Sinclair should pre-empt that, too.
The hiding of the dead continues... although it doesn't appear to be helping from a public opinion standpoint.
Just 32 percent, the lowest number ever, say Iraq was a threat that required immediate military action a year ago.
Less than half, 47 percent, now say the U.S. did the right thing taking military action in Iraq, the lowest support recorded in CBS News/New York Times Polls since the war began... Nearly half say the war in Iraq was a mistake -- a finding similar to the public’s assessment of the Vietnam War as measured by the Gallup Poll in 1968.
But then again, who believes polls? According to a recent one, 50% still believe Iraq and al Qaeda worked together on 9/11. People are idiots, don't listen to their concerns! Right G.W.?