When Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. fired reporter Jon Leiberman amid a controversy over the company’s pre-election programming policies, the news media rallied around him, praising Leiberman as a paragon of journalistic integrity.
That was then. They’re not exactly racing to give him a job.
Sinclair axed Leiberman—lead political reporter for the 62-station TV group—back in October, after he crossed swords with management over its plans to air on all its stations a documentary, or at least parts of it, recounting the Swift Boat Veterans’ accusations against Sen. John Kerry (Sinclair ultimately aired a news special that included part of the documentary, Stolen Honor.)
Amid the controversy, Leiberman gave an interview to the Baltimore Sun blasting Honor as “biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election.”
He was gone the next day. Since then, Leiberman has had a number of interviews, but no solid offers. “I certainly had hoped to have a job,” he says.
While he searches for a full-time position, Leiberman has found a freelance job: He’s working for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs on a half-hour documentary, The American Veteran. It’s slated to air on the Pentagon Channel, which is carried largely on military bases.
In light of the Swift Boat contretemps, the project might seem like an ironic assignment for the reporter. But to Leiberman, it’s just a temporary job as he tries to put the Sinclair experience behind him. “I’m ready for it to be over,” he says of the controversy. “I don’t want that to define my career.”