Friday, January 07, 2005

Sinclair Threatens SLAPP suit against Media Matters

From a Sinclair press release:

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. is pleased to note that in a press release issued on January 6, 2005 and as posted on their website (, office supply retailer Staples, Inc. states that it intends to continue to advertise on Sinclair television stations and has no policy against advertising in Sinclair news programming. The Staples' statement also notes that political agendas do not drive its media buying decisions and that its media buying process with Sinclair "has recently been misrepresented by an organization with no affiliation to Staples."
The clarification of Staples' media buying process as it relates to Sinclair directly contradicts statements made by several organizations with what appear to be far-left leaning political agendas who have engaged in an ongoing Internet-based campaign of harassment against Sinclair. Notwithstanding the clear message from Staples, these organizations continue to claim that their actions have caused Staples to discontinue advertising on Sinclair stations. Obviously these claims are not accurate.

Although Sinclair respects the rights of these organizations to voice their opinions, we find inappropriate that their tactics include advocating their constituency to contact our advertisers in a blatant attempt to use economic pressure to censor the speech of Sinclair. Moreover, the continued misrepresentation of the facts surrounding any company's advertising practices regarding Sinclair stations constitutes "trade defamation" which would entitle Sinclair to seek damages in a court of law. Sinclair will aggressively pursue any organization or any individual which engages in such defamation, including individuals who lend their names to mass e-mail campaigns spreading such misinformation.

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation are nothing new. Money has been using them against dissent for decades. But this is the first case I am aware of in whch one media outlet threatened a suit against another for "spreading misinformation." And on the chutzpah scale, this one is right up there with Fox News' crusade against Al Franken over the use of "fair and balanced."

David Brock cuts through the fog with some inconvenient facts here.


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