Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What rhymes with schadenfreude? More ado about Sinclair

Previously on Sinclair Broadcasting: Oct 11, Oct 15

Yesterday, stock in Sinclair Broadcasting Group went in free-fall mode and at one point hit a 52 week low at 6.12 a stock, the lowest point since February 2001.

Sinclair's stock over the past 52 weeks:

The last 5 days:

Not surprisingly, Sinclair issued a press release announcing they won't be showing the film, but will instead show an hour-long news program which includes clips from the anti-Kerry hit piece.

Rather than admit it was wrong, it blamed the damn liberal media and complained that "the company and many of its executives have endured personal attacks of the viles nature". Like "holocaust deniers"?

Naturally, shareholders weren't too happy.
(From NY Times)
A group of shareholders, represented by the prominent lawyer William S. Lerach, announced it would file suit against Sinclair's management, charging it with damaging the company financially by pursuing the partisan political interests of its owners and with insider trading.

Alan G. Hevesi, the New York state comptroller and the sole trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which owns more than 250,000 shares of Sinclair stock, wrote a letter to David D. Smith, Sinclair's chief executive, detailing his concerns about what he called "recent actions that have brought a great deal of publicity to our company." Mr. Hevesi also demanded that Mr. Smith explain why critics who have accused the company of pursuing "partisan political views" rather than "protecting shareholder value" are wrong.

Oh, and allegations of insider trading too! Yay!

Sinclair stock is rebounding today on the heel of yesteday's announcement, but it seems like they just gave themselves more plausible deniability by not explicityly showing the documentary. Still, it's nice to see a grassroots movement have visible, even if limited, success.

Anti-Kerry film producer accused of libel (Yahoo News)
How fair is Sinclair's doctrine? - Is John Kerry entitled to avenge his Stolen Honor? (Slate)
Uncivil War - Stolen Honor rewrites the history of Vietnam War (Slate)
A summary on the whole Sinclair hullaballoo (Daily Kos)

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