The extraordinary decline in the stock value of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and the rise of the Sinclair advertiser boycott, may be one of the most important trends in the popular media reform movement aimed at the problems caused by concentrated ownership of mass media.
One could argue that the massive publicity the company has received since it ordered its 62 stations to air an anti-Kerry propaganda film, cuts both ways –
Similarly, liberal financier Sheldon Drobny, one of the owners of Air America Radio network wrote on Friday that Sinclair’s poor performance over time is due largely to the “politcal agenda” of the company’s CEO David Smith. Drobny thinks that “the company will be forced to change its programming or sell it’s valuable TV licenses to another company if Smith does not get his act together.”
While the Boycott Sinclair Broadcast Group web site now claims “over 50 confirmed advertiser pullouts from Sinclair, including at least one large national advertiser” the site has a policy of not revealing the names of companies that have pulled out — “Unless they have specifically instructed me to do so. At this time, I have no such instructions.”
The media and others, however, are not bound by this unusual choice. The Flint (Michgan) Journal reported on Friday that a Detroit law firm had pulled its ads from the only Sinclair affiliate in the state.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA) reported on Saturday that Democratic candidate for Governor’s Council (the body that picks judges in Massachusetts) has pulled his planned ads from the Sinclair owned station in Springfield, MA. “They have a first amendment right to broadcast it,” said attorney Vickery, “and Democrats have the First Amendment right to refuse to subsidize it.”
The Cincinatti Enquirer reported on Friday that a local pizza chain is pulling its ads for a day from the local Sinclair station.
The (Portland) Press Herald reported that a credit union that advertised on the Portland station was also joining the boycott.
While some of these decisions were made earlier in the week, as detailed on These advertiser lists are especially useful, since calls and emails to local stations are routed to Sinclair headquarters, which is happy to receive all the flack in its electronic waste baskets. The local Sinclair-owned stations have no say in the central decision making of the tightly held, Smith family-run company.