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Not So Fast...

Any organization stupid enough to cave in to professional sycophant David Brock's Media Matters for America organization's campaign doesn't deserve your business. Luckily Staples is correcting the record.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 6, 2005--To clarify that Staples does not have a policy against advertising on Sinclair Broadcast Group news, Staples has the following statement:

Our media buying process with Sinclair Broadcast Group stations has recently been misrepresented by an organization with no affiliation to Staples. Staples regularly drops and adds specific programs from our media buying schedule, as we evaluate and adjust how to best reach our customers. We do not let political agendas drive our media buying decisions.

Staples does not support any political party. We advertise with a variety of media outlets, but do not necessarily share the same views of these organizations or what they report. As we have done for a number of years, Staples will continue to advertise on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations.

What's MMA so upset about? Sinclair dares to make available a nightly commentary segment (ala Andy Rooney) to its 62 stations local newscasts which isn't "balanced." Since when did opinion have to be balanced? Is PBS balanced? PBS stations are on the public airwaves and when it comes to opinion and commentary content they are as liberal as they come. PBS stations featured, until just a few months ago, commentary pieces by ultra-liberal Bill Moyers with no "balance." Somehow everyone managed to survive PBS with or without "balance."

Additional reporting - The Boston Herald

Comments (30)

It's ridiculous when people... (Below threshold)

It's ridiculous when people get all upset about this, I agree with you. It's as if people are worried that they can't watch something and make up their own mind. If they really have a problem with a commentary program with an opinion then they should write a response, or get their own TV show. But then, thats alot harder than just complaining. People are afraid to disagree, or hear opposing views, I dont know what it is.

People have to learn to judge and analyze these things for themselves, without relying on others to do it for them.

I'm glad Staples clarified.... (Below threshold)

I'm glad Staples clarified. Now let's hope that the recall of this blog-based-boycott I kept hearing about spreads as fast as the "Let's team up to hate Staples!" posts did.

Blogs are no different than newspapers sometimes: Mistakes are A1 above the fold, and corrections are C16, below that Sears ad.

"Since when did opinion hav... (Below threshold)

"Since when did opinion have to be balanced?"

Uh, how old are you?

Beginning in 1940 the FCC decided that opinion should be balanced on broadcast airwaves since they are a publci trust. The Reagan Administration figured that just more wasteful regulation.

"The "Fairness Doctrine" is an attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcast station be balanced and fair. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues. With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine."


That should be "Beginning i... (Below threshold)

That should be "Beginning in 1949 ... "

With the deregulation sw... (Below threshold)

With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine."

Thanks for the history lesson -- but what ended 16 years ago isn't exactly relevant to Paul's question in 2005, is it?

It's entirely relevent. At ... (Below threshold)

It's entirely relevent. At one time in this country broadcasters were required in very meaningful way to do exactly what conservatives said they never did: present opinions in a fair and balanced manner by always presenting a counterpoint to broadcast editorials.
Sinclair can only present their program "The Point" without the "counterpoint" becuase of Reagan's policies.
The plan wasn't get the government out of broadcasting, the plan was to allow conservative corporate owners to do exactly what Sinclair is doing: present thier audiences with only a single point of view.
Essentially, guys, the ending of the Fairness Doctrine had a signficant and serious impact on public discourse, the effects of which we are still feeling today.
It's simply historical ignorance to ask gee, when did opinion ever have to be balanced and then attack PBS.

The Fairness doctrine is hi... (Below threshold)

The Fairness doctrine is history, live in the now. Bill Moyer and Andy Rooney are relevant because they are on the public airwaves and provide, what some would argue, is a opinion from a liberal perspective. They have no duty under current the current regulatory environment (which broadcasters universally support by the way) to present opposing viewpoints. The marketplace can, and will, decide on the value of these commentary segments - people will either watch or they won't. That seems like a pretty fair trade, especially considering that the average TV viewer has several hundred competing cable stations to choose from where in 1949 they had, at best, a couple other stations to choose from...

Don't get all huffy Kevin. ... (Below threshold)

Don't get all huffy Kevin.
I was just pointing out that there was a time in this country when editorial opinons had to be balanced.
As for Bill Moyers and PBS, you can thank Reagan for that. Don't forget, the reason Moyers doesn;t have to present a countervailing view is becuase of the Reagan.
But wait, doesn't Tucker Carlson also have a show on PBS?
And BTW, isn't Andy Rooney a tired old crank that no one listens to anymore?
But seriously, why should Synclair Broadcasting be allowed to use the public airwaves to broadcast whatever message it wants without having to give fair and reasonable access to a counter view? It isn't about channel choice. It's about the ownership society and I own a piece of their braodcast signal -- and so does every progressive in the thier markets and in the country.
Sinclair is a trustee of the public airwaves and, while its owners have right to free speech, they don't have a right to monopolize my airwaves.
If they want to say whatever they want whenever they want to say it why don't they start up a cable system? Now that's the free market solution, Kevin. Not me having to swtich channels.

Just answer me that, why isn't the solution to this problem Synclair selling its publci licenses and starting a satellite channel? Then they go broadcast whatever they hell they wanted and I wouldn't say a peep. Afterall, I don't expect Pat Robertson to bring Al Franken on the 700 Club.

If you go to <a href="http:... (Below threshold)
Carrick Talmadge:

If you go to this article, I think it is pretty clear that Staples had in fact adopted such a policy, contrary to what they are saying now. It would appear that, after a very abreviated letter writing campaign by people insulted by this decision, they reversed courses.

I was one of those objecting to their original decision.... in spite of the fact I don't watch Sinclear Broadcasting at all, let alone "The Point". I just object to censorship and organized attempts such as that of Media Matters (see http://www.sinclairaction.org/) to suppress other political points of view.

See, Carrick, that's where ... (Below threshold)

See, Carrick, that's where you're wrong. No one ever said Sinclair doesn't have the right to broadcast whatever it wants on "The Point." The problem comes when they consistently address every issue of import to the community they serve from a single point of view and then refuse to allow an individual from the community to express a counterview. You see it isn't the people complaining about Synclair who want to oppress an opinion, it's Sinclair that's systematically denying members of its broadcast community the present another point of view. It's a very simple situation: The public airwaves are licensed to Sinclair, they do not own them, they cannot do with them as they please. Since the end of the Fairness Doctrine the only way to get broadcasters of either political bent to present an opposing view to the official editorials is throught just such public pressure and boycott campaigns as is being waged against Sinclair. Really, I don't know why you all are taking Sinclair's side on this. Either you are for a "fair and balanced" media you are not.

To be more precise, Sinclai... (Below threshold)

To be more precise, Sinclair can say whatever it wants on The Point, but they should also allow reasonable (for both parties) airtime to individuals from the community it serves to present a different POV. What's the big deal about that?

Who cares, Staples dumped t... (Below threshold)

Who cares, Staples dumped them during their local newscast and that's the bottomline. Bye bye The Point, it's over, Staples isn't interested in subscribing to the hoodwinking and fostering the ignorance anymore. I can hear Roy Orbinson singing in my mind...

Let them find some Right Wing Nutjob to sponsor their silly unadulterated bias crap.

GW Bush may be the Time's M... (Below threshold)

GW Bush may be the Time's Man Of The Year, but he'll never be half the man that Reagan was.

I think it should be worrying to all of us when we see him reverse policies that Reagan instituted, like this Fairness doctrine thing, and Social Security too. Does he think he knows better than the Gipper? I don't think so, little man.

I'm beginning to wonder if he hasn't surrounded himself with people who just tell him what he wants to hear.

baiter - it's Roy Orbiso... (Below threshold)

baiter - it's Roy Orbison, not Orbinson. Don't dis the dead musicians, if you're gonna reference them, spell their names right. He was a talented one.

minnie - i'm beginning to wonder how you think with that tinfoil hat on... we're you drunk when you posted, or just high? Are you seeing Bush counter Reagan's dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine? Are you saying Reagan created Social Security? Next time, pass the brownies first, so we can all understand what you're saying....

Frame - you complain that y... (Below threshold)

Frame - you complain that you own the broadcast airwaves as a citizen and that it's your right to hear a progressive viewpoint. Hogwash. NPR is publicly funded with my tax dollars and it is nothing if not completely unbalanced and unfair.. and there isn't anything I can do about it, though it's promulgated over the public airwaves.

Using your logic, I should be able to commandeer Howard Stern's show to post a 'opposition' view point about abstinence, right after Stern interviews some porn hole about what her favorite sexual position is... because that 'opposing' viewpoint isn't heard on the airwaves (gosh that'll bring in the ratings... abstinence today!) But I do have a choice, change the channel so my daughter doesn't hear that garbage. Just like I do with NPR after 3 minutes of listening to biased, slanted 'journalism and commentary' paid for with my tax dollars.

OH, but didn't you know, if... (Below threshold)

OH, but didn't you know, if it's a conservative opinion, it must be "balanced" with at least 5 liberal opinions. On the flip side, any 1 liberal opinion is to be accepted as completely true, right, accurate, and infallable, because (as we all know) the only "educated" people in the world are liberal.

Excuse me while I vomit after just having typed that!

Smoke Eater - ... (Below threshold)

Smoke Eater -

Balderdash - There is no liberal opinion anymore, you juniors have seen to it that it has become a thing of the past, like vintage dresses.

And OneDrummer -

And regarding Mr. Obison's name, sorry I misspelled it, I am just a humble liberal, I do not walk on water like you, a coveted, spellbinding and awe-inspiring NeoCon. But, it still doesn't change the plight of that God awful show The Point and the vituperating golliwog who hosts it.

I-t's o-v-e-r, oh God Roy, I loved you and you were one talented liberal...

And some other info for you - Howard Stern and your beloved Rush not only share a birthday, they share the same listening audience. I turn the channel on both of these equally revolting losers.

And finally regarding your so very Right Wing assinine reply to Minnie, (who actually sounds like one of your own), you need to get off the pipe, son. You wouldn't want your daugther to see it fused to your lip...

"refuse to allow an individ... (Below threshold)

"refuse to allow an individual from the community to express a counterview."

...on THEIR station by giving up valuable airtime to leftist cranks.

Those community individuals are free to write letters, talk to their friends, blog, get on public access cable channels, stand on streetcorners with signs... they're hardly "oppressed"

<a href="mailto:[email protected] (Below threshold)
Carrick Talmadge:

frameone says: No one ever said Sinclair doesn't have the right to broadcast whatever it wants on "The Point." The problem comes when they consistently address every issue of import to the community they serve from a single point of view and then refuse to allow an individual from the community to express a counterview.

How is this different than what 60 Minutes does? Or CBS Evening News? At least, The Point clearly labels itself as opinion. Both 60 Minutes nor CBS News wrap their one-sided viewpoints into editorial decisions what to run, what not to run, which experts to interview, etc. As long as the FCC rules don't impose a fairness clause, then I'm afraid I will have to oppose any attempt by any party to shut down the other side's voice.

Until I see you guys going after 60 Minutes, I'm afraid I will have to regard it for what it in fact represents: An effort to censor a political viewpoint you disagree with.

That's right, Carrick.... (Below threshold)

That's right, Carrick.

Hee hee, the left was "victimized" again! Poor souls, they were denied the right to see the Swifboat Veterans' information on Kerry because Sinclair didn't have nationwide access like CBS 60 Minutes II.

Hold up there guys. NPR and... (Below threshold)

Hold up there guys. NPR and PBS were both created with the mandate to offer the kinds of cultural and public affairs content not available in the commercial broadcasting arena to provide balance.
You're exactly right when you say that today's media universe is different and raises questions about the need for publicly funded broadcast stations. Then again, there's a lot of local programming available on my local NPR station that simply wouldn't exist without it. Everything from the book review show to the cooking show to the public affairs shows about local issues. There's nothing else like it anywhere on the radio dial.

As to thte idea that Daniel Schorr is the only editorial voice on NPR, I have to ask you, have you listened to NPR of late? They regularly run the comments and seek the opions of conservative voices. But let's keep editorial content separate from news content. When you start talking about news content you're just in left-wing media conspiracy land which simply isn't tenable. For every supposed left wing story on CBS I could find dozens of others with a supposed right-wing bias. Please.

Also, there are no specifically labelled editorial segments on any of the national news shows and even fewer local news broadcasts carry them these days. Why? Becuase they don;t want to get involved in the kind of mess that Sinclair has gotten themselves in.

And please don't bring censorship into this. No one asking to censor Sinclair. Media Matters and others are just asking for Sinlcair to balance its opinions in the editorial segment of its news broadcast. That's it. Balance.

And by the way, why won't Sinclair run a counterpoint. Is it because, as we all know, that conservtive ideas can't surrvive outside the echo chamber of right-wing media? (there's some red meat for ya to chew on!)

"For every supposed left wi... (Below threshold)

"For every supposed left wing story on CBS I could find dozens of others with a supposed right-wing bias."

Name one (dozen).

Tick tick tick tick tick ti... (Below threshold)

Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick ...

Take your pick: <a... (Below threshold)
Nope, it's up to you to pro... (Below threshold)

Nope, it's up to you to prove your point.

1 left wing story on CBS = 12 right wing bias stories on CBS.
For every left wing story on CBS, you said.

So, are you an employee at mediamatters.org or just a volunteer? Hope they pay you while you do the research.

"Smoke Eater -Bald... (Below threshold)

"Smoke Eater -

Balderdash - There is no liberal opinion anymore, you juniors have seen to it that it has become a thing of the past, like vintage dresses. "

Isn't it amazing that the left, in all of their educated glory, tolerance, and political correctness has to resort to INSULTS when they are confronted with anyone who disagrees? As for NO LIBERAL OPINION, trust me, that ain't true. Alam Colmes has plenty of liberal thought/opinion and a loud enough voice that NO ONE will be able to silence him. And like it's been said, people don't get hired becuase the stations (PRIVATE COMPANIES) want to "balance" anything out, they are hired because they DID BETTER IN SCHOOL, or DID BETTER IN THE INTERVIEW, or HAVE MORE EXPERIENCE in the field! But what do I know, I'm just a regular suppressive neo-con aren't I?

baiter - i knew that you'd ... (Below threshold)

baiter - i knew that you'd come out from under your rock if I called your typo... not to prove I'm high and mighty, but to just get a rise outta ya. It worked. Only time I ever walk on water is when it's frozen, preferably over 4 incheds thick.

and some other info for you - umm, where do you get that Stern and Limbaugh share the same audience? Stern used his show to campaign against Bush during the election and hates conservatives, so how does that demographic match up with Rush's? Please explain.

As for bein assinine - I thought it was perfectly acceptable to fisk someone when they don't make their point clearly. Obviously, when someone thinks Reagan was responsible for creating the Fairness Doctrine and that he was responsible for Social Security, they're a little confused. Guess that makes me assinine. I've been called worse by better...

frameone, you are being dis... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

frameone, you are being disingenous. The purpose of the "Fairness" Doctorine was never to ensure balanced presentation of viewpoints; it was always to suppress conservative opinion on the airwaves. I was a teenager during the '70s when the Fairness Doctorine was at its zenith, and I can assure you that conservative opinioin was never, ever, ever presented on any TV or radio news. Ever. And this was in Tennessee. In fact, one specific stated purpose of the Fairness Doctorine was to prevent any conservative from doing what Rush Limbaugh later did, that is, create a syndicated radio opinion show. In the '70s, any radio station that carried a Rush-like show would have been required by the FCC to offer three hours of free airtime to a liberal commentator as compensation for its indiscretions.

You think I'm kidding? Check this article from Drew Clark of Slate, not exactly a conservative rag. As Clark documents, in 1969, the Warren Burger Supreme Court established that a TV station that had sold airtime to a conservative commentator was required to give, for free, equal airtime to a liberal commentator. Conservative = you pay. Liberal = it's free. Would you like to explain what is "fair" about that?

So don't try to push me that bullshit about the Fairness Doctorine ensuring a "balanced" viewpoint. It purpose always was precisely to ensure an unbalanced viewpoint. Clear?

cousin dave sez: "The purp... (Below threshold)

cousin dave sez: "The purpose of the "Fairness" Doctorine was never to ensure balanced presentation of viewpoints; it was always to suppress conservative opinion on the airwaves."

Wow - what rampant paranoia! The truth is there is NOBODY giving out any view that is as far left as the thousands of righties on tv and radio are to the right.

To see how far right we've gone since then, Nixon looks like a leftist now - he went to China, started Affirmative Action, put in wage and price controls.

And at the time he was deemed a rightwinger!

The country has been so take over by the far right that the Democrats, who are in fact mainstream are called evil, atheistic, communist, America-hating, terrorist supporters far to the left.

In many parts of the country all there is on the radio is spewing from the far right in general, and the rabid Christian right in particular.

Even the "evil" PBS now has far-right editorialists from the rabid-right Wall Street Journal idiotrial page!

So what happens? Despite the fact that a good-sized majority of Americans support some abortion rights, the righties make it look like we all want to force women into bondage to embryos!

Despite the fact that some 90% Of Americans declare they are religious - the righties say that the 50% of the country that is democrat or independent are atheists who hate God!

And at the same time it righties who tell us that it's GOOD FOR AMERICA to send OUR jobs to COMMUNIST CHINA while most Democrats are against it!

Figure that one out, eh?

p.s. Sounds like Staples... (Below threshold)

p.s. Sounds like Staples was INTIMIDATEd by the right into saying withdrawing support of The POint wasn't based on good sense and fair play, but just a regular thingie...






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