Don't Boycott Sinclair. Hit Them Where They Are Most Vulnerable. Go After Ad Sponsors and Investors
by Rob Kall
Sinclair media is planning to run an hour long attack ad on John Kerry. It will be broadcast to 25 percent of the nations homes. The word is they will claim it is news to avoid FCC reprisal. Some people are suggesting that a boycott be started against Sinclair.
Boycotting the media is a nice idea in theory, but people don't like to boycott what they're addicted to, and the media won't admit they're being hurt by such a boycott. There's a better way to hit them and pressure them. This article discusses a number of the approaches that go for the weak underbelly of Sinclair Broadcasting.
Don't Boycott Sinclair. It's too tough to make an impression and takes too long to get a read on whether it had an effect. The most powerful way to get to the most vulnerable underbelly of the media is to hurt them financially-- by going to their advertisers and investors. If the stock value drops and/or if the profits drop, they will feel it, and they are more likely to respond to just the risk of such an approach.
You can put pressure on Sinclair through the stockholders by contacting the primary stockholders and threatening to dump the mutual funds that hold the largest amount of stock in Sinclair. Here's a link that lists them http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=SBGI The DailyKos is also working this angle at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/10/11/18560/484
Already, Sinclair (SBGI) is at a one year low according to this chart from Yahoo.
The discussion forum on the Dailykos.com seems to be suggesting that Janus, Neuberger, Westfield, BlackRock Putnam and Gabelli are the firms most likely to respond to letters, emails and phone calls.
You can pressure Sinclair by letting their advertisers know that THEY will be boycotted. Just the threat, just the fact that 10,000 or a 100,000 people phone or send emails and letters will have a much more powerful effect than if the same number were sent to the networks or the stations. Sinclair's biggest source of ad revenues comes from automobile advertising. Here's a website created to boycott Sinclair broadcasting. It lists advertisers. http://www.boycottsbg.com/advertisers/
There are a lot of advertisers, so, the best bet is to focus on the ones that spend the most, the auto companies and large chains. You can influence this situation by writing to the national offices of the major automobile manufacturers. We in the media can report, with the help of local readers, the precise companies that advertise on Sinclair stations. Even if the ads are run nationally, and appear on other stations as well, letting those advertisers know you are unhappy with their sponsorship of a network that is corrupting the role of the media in the political process can have a powerful effect upon those advertisers. They can chose to run their ads with other networks.
Here's a purported list of Sinclair advertisers.
List of Sinclair Advertisers to Contact
At a local level, if you live in a metropolitan area served by Sinclair broadcasting stations (find out at this website http://www.sbgi.net/business/markets/all.shtml ) you can write to your local newspapers, call and complain to local advertisers and contact local action organizations, including Moveon.org, ACT, the local democratic party. Many of these have listserve groups you can subscribe to, then notify them about the situation. Listserve groups are excellent means for recruiting more local help. Once you dig up advertiser info, post it to http://www.boycottsbg.com/advertisers/
To make this effort most effective it would be wise to get specific in the targeting. If a few ad sponsors respond and a few major investors respond, the message will be sent loud and clear, not just to Sinclair but to the rest of the networks, that the left has a new weapon to fight with. One way to focus more tightly is to primarily target activity in the swing states-- Florida, Ohio and PA.
It will be helpful if the big mailout groups, like moveon.org, truemajority.org, the DNC, and other organizations take action and help get the word out, using their websites which make it easy to send emails to targeted advertisers and investors.
The good thing about this Sinclair obscenity is it seems to be pulling together diverse groups, getting them organized in a way that can and should also be used to influence other media. It's essential that the left build a more systematic organization for dealing with the threats to democracy that right wing media are more and more frequently firing off. Another excellent source of information on the media is Danny Schecter's www.mediachannel.org
On the far right, hundreds of millions of dollars a year are spent on think tanks that work to strategize how to take America from the left. A media thinktank for the left should be funded with at least $20 million a year. It would be able to coordinate resources of the groups mentioned above, and could begin to systematically track and monitor the major media-- every show, every anchor and newscaster. The best could be rewarded with encouragement and support of advertisers, endorsements for investment. The worst would be identified as targets so we could boycott their sponsors.
The way to turn this Sinclair lemon into lemonade is to move the left towards making these long-term visions that will help us either take back or cure the media happen.
Rob Kall firstname.lastname@example.org is publisher of progressive news and opinion website www.opednews.com and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story This article is copyright Rob Kall and originally published by opednews.com but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog or web media so long as this credit paragraph is attached. Over 100 other articles by Rob Kall