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Hyman Defends Sinclair, Offers Kerry Equal Time

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Guest obby

Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004 1:20 p.m. EDT

Hyman Defends Sinclair, Offers Kerry Equal Time

Democrats don't seem to mind very much that favorite son Michael Moore's anti-Bush sclockumentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" was released in thousands of theaters, has arrived on pay-per-view and that Moore has entered into negotiations to have his movie aired on national TV, all pre-election.

But boy, do they mind now that Sinclair Broadcasting Corp., the largest independent owner of television stations in the country with 62, wants to air a documentary critical of Democratic presidential contender John Kerry.

Eighteen Democratic senators, along with the Democratic National Committee, have demanded that the Federal Election Commission forbid Sinclair from broadcasting "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" because they say the film amounts to an illegal in-kind political donation to the campaign of President Bush.

The film features interviews with Vietnam prisoners of war and their wives, who claim that Kerry's testimony, filled with "lurid fantasies of butchery in Vietnam" on the part of U.S. troops, demeaned them and led their captors to hold them longer, according to a description by the Associated Press.

But Mark Hyman, Sinclair's vice president for corporate communications and a commentator for the network, defended the network's instructions to its stations to pre-empt other programming and air the documentary.

In a PBS interview with Terence Smith, Hyman says the program is being shaped as an important news feature that should be seen by the voting public.

"The bottom line in this is these are Vietnam prisoners of war, former POWs, who after years of horrific abuse and unspeakable torture have ended their 31 years of silence and have come forward and wanted to rebut some claims made by John Kerry that statements he made in his 1971 testimony ... were an act of conscience and didn't affect anyone adversely," Hyman said.

Howard Wolfson, a senior adviser to the DNC, argued that the program contains "no pretense to objectivity."

"It's essentially a 90-minute political commercial masquerading as a documentary," he argued.

Actually, says Hyman, the film is only 40 minutes, but no matter - he's also asked Kerry to come on the program and rebut or argue any point made in the documentary. So far, Kerry hasn't bitten.

And, if Wolfson has his way, Kerry won't appear.

"I wouldn't advise him to do that because you don't ... it's not at all fair and balanced to have a 40-minute attack ad and then get five minutes or ten minutes or however many minutes to respond," Wolfson stammered.

Hyman countered, "If John Kerry sat down with us for two hours, we may end up with a 60-minute program that has 57 minutes of John Kerry presenting his side of the issues. That's fine. That's what this is all about. We've made an open invitation.

"We told Senaator Kerry we would meet him anywhere, anytime that he chooses, anywhere in this country to discuss this issue. We are going as far as we can to make this available to him," said Hyman.

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