Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has requested time on Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. to respond to a program the station group plans to air two weeks before the presidential election.
According to the Associated Press, the Democratic candidate’s campaign attorney Marc E. Elias sent a letter to Sinclair President David D. Smith requesting time on each station at an hour when an audience similar in size to that of Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal could be expected to be watching.
Sinclair has asked all of its 62 owned stations to preempt regular programming to air Stolen Honor, a documentary that is highly critical of Kerry’s 1971 testimony on the Vietnam War before the U.S. Senate. Veterans and their families featured in the film say Kerry’s actions hurt the cause of prisoners of war in Vietnam.
At press time, Sinclair had not responded to Kerry campaign’s request.
Elias cites in his letter decisions by the Federal Communications Commission that require stations that permit supporters of a campaign to “use its facilities to advance that candidate’s campaign must provide supporters of the opposing candidate ‘quasi-equal opportunities,’” according to the Associated Press story.
On Oct. 12, the Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the Federal Election alleging that broadcast of the film represented an illegal in-kind donation to President Bush’s campaign.