Staples Clips Sinclair
The political war via corporations rages in full throttle with the news that Staples, responding to angry customers, is pulling its advertising from news shows on stations owned by the controverial Sinclair Broadcasting company.
And — given the style in 21st Century America – expect to see retaliation from the other side…a kind of right/left war waged through advertising. Not that incarnations of this haven’t happened in the past. The Washington Post reports:
Office-supply retailer Staples Inc. is pulling its advertising from news programming on Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. television stations, saying the decision was fueled in part by e-mails from customers angry at what they consider to be the broadcaster’s right-wing bias in news and commentary.
The Hunt Valley-based Sinclair drew attention and criticism from some quarters in the weeks leading up to November’s presidential election for airing parts of "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," a film critical of Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and his war record.
Staples, which has 1,400 stores, will continue to buy advertising during other programs on Sinclair’s 62 stations but, as of Jan. 10, no longer will advertise during news programs, which include "The Point," a daily conservative commentary by Sinclair Vice President Mark E. Hyman.
So it’s doing a carefully defined advertising withdrawal…more of a statement:
Advertising during Sinclair’s news programs accounts for "a very small part of the overall buy," said Staples spokesman Owen Davis, who would not disclose the publicly traded company’s ad budget.
Sinclair chief executive David D. Smith said he was unaware of Staples’ decision. Smith — whose father, Julian Sinclair Smith, founded Sinclair in 1971 — said he has received no complaints from advertisers regarding the broadcaster’s news and commentary programming. The publicly owned company is controlled by the Smith family and owns more television stations than any other company, networks included.
"No one from Staples has called me," David Smith said. "I think I would eventually hear about it if and when it happens."
Since December, Sinclair has been targeted by Media Matters for America, a liberal media group, which claimed the company was abusing the public airwaves to promote a conservative agenda and not offering politically balanced news.
The group set up a Web site — www.sinclairaction.org — with e-mail addresses and phone numbers of dozens of Sinclair advertisers, specifically targeting Kraft Foods Inc., Staples, Target Corp., Geico Corp., McDonald’s Corp. and Sprint Corp. for their large media buys.
All of these corporations will likely be under increasingly intense pressure…from the left and the right.