Sinclair Fires Bureau Chief - Broadcasting & Cable

Sinclair Fires Bureau Chief

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Embattled Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. has reportedly fired Washington bureau chief Jon Lieberman for openly criticizing its anti-Kerry documentary, according to various reports, including the AP.

In Monday's Baltimore Sun, Lieberman had labeled the show "biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election." Lieberman told the Sun's David Folkenflit following the firing: "I just think it's a shame that a journalist gets fired for telling the truth." Sinclair has a policy against employees, other than official spokespeople, talking to the press about the company.

"Jon Leiberman is no longer an employee of the company," said spokesman Mark Hyman, but would not elaborate, saying: "We do not comment on personnel matters."

News of the documentary's planned airing has generated protests from legislators and activists. Sinclair says that its planned news special has been mischaracterized and that it has offered Kerry a chance to respond to it. In fact, it is encouraging viewers to contact Kerry's office to ask him to appear, even putting Kerry's campaign office phone number on the opening page of its Web site.

Another Web site, www.boycottsbg.com, claims to have pressured over 50 advertisers to boycott the broadcaster.

Elsewhere on the Sinclair front, the company is warning that an e-mail ostensibly from Sinclair CEO David Smith providing an "Update on Kerry POW Film and FEC Ruling" is bogus and it is trying to track down the culprit.

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