First Step Toward Legal Action Against Sinclair Calling for Immediate Access to Equal Airtime To Balance Partisan Attack Film Stolen Honor
(WASHINGTON, DC, October 19, 2004) - Media Matters for America (MMFA) announced today that it is underwriting the costs of a shareholder action, demanding that Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., provide equal time to those "with views opposed to the allegations" in the anti-Kerry film Stolen Honor, which Sinclair plans to air between October 21-24, in prime time, on all 62 of its stations reaching up to 25 percent of U.S. TV households.
At 10 a.m. today, a letter from Glickenhaus & Co., a Wall Street firm with clients who hold stock in Sinclair, was delivered to the CEO of Sinclair, David D. Smith, and the company's board of directors, demanding that they immediately "provide those with views opposed to the allegations in the film an equal opportunity to respond." If an answer to Glickenhaus' demand is not received by close of business today, Tuesday October 19, additional remedies, including an injunction in a court of law prior to the first scheduled airing of Stolen Honor October 21, may be sought.
"Our mission is to thwart conservative misinformation in the media and ensure that the media offer the American public fair and balanced access to news and information," explained MMFA President and CEO David Brock. "We determined a stockholder effort is the strongest remaining course of action to force Sinclair to reconsider its decision to air Stolen Honor."
Glickenhaus & Co., a Wall Street investment firm holding 6,100 shares of Sinclair stock, is taking action against Sinclair on behalf of its clients holding shares in Sinclair. General partner Jim Glickenhaus mounted the action based on Sinclair's CEO and directors having a financial obligation to shareholders.
"We are not partisan. We are investors," Glickenhaus explained today. "Sinclair's decision has caused harm to the value of our investment in Sinclair. We believe Sinclair must give equal time to an opposing point of view. Otherwise the company is placing its future and the value of our investment in jeopardy, by putting the renewal of its FCC licenses at risk, alienating local advertisers, and opening itself up to libel suits against the company."
Since Sinclair's decision to air Stolen Honor became public on October 9, the company's stock has fallen nearly 13 percent, as of the close of the market yesterday, October 18, wiping out nearly $90 million in shareholder value.
MMFA's action is the latest in a series of grassroots actions aimed at forcing Sinclair to reconsider its decision to air Stolen Honor. On October 12, MMFA made available to the public the list of the top 20 mutual funds and six pension funds with investments to Sinclair. As a result, shareholders have called their fund managers, demanding immediate divestment of Sinclair stock as a protest against Sinclair's plans.
"We felt that by underwriting the legal costs of Glickenhaus & Co.'s actions, we are sending a message to Sinclair's board and CEO that will make them stand up and pay attention," Brock explains. "Glickenhaus & Co. is a respected firm whose interests are in maintaining shareholder value for its clients."
This action may be heard in a state court prior to the first scheduled airing of Stolen Honor, if Sinclair does not accede to the remedies set forth by Glickenhaus & Co. on behalf of their investors.