Sinclair’s Election Eve Special, Broadcast in Swing States, Criticized as Partisan

By Merrill Knox 

Sinclair Broadcast Group is under fire for an election special that aired on stations in battleground states Monday night. The half-hour special — broadcast on the eve of the election in Columbus, Dayton and West Palm Beach — is being criticized as a partisan attack on President Barack Obama. Talking Points Memo, which first reported on the special, writes it “sounded more like Fox News than local news”:

ABC affiliate WSYX in Columbus aired a half-hour “election special” twice on Monday night — first at 6:30 p.m. instead of World News with Diane Sawyer, and later at 11:30 p.m., during the slot normally held by Nightline. Rather than a side by side comparison of the two major party candidates, however, the special featured some of the most partisan criticisms of President Barack Obama, and spent relatively little time examining Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

“Much of the first two years of President Obama’s term in office was spent developing and defending Obamacare — that’s the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March of 2010,” anchor Bob Kendrick said, near the program’s halfway point. “It supposedly guarantees health care for any U.S. resident who could not obtain good health care otherwise. The biggest parts of the law go into effect in 2014, with other pieces of it rolling out over the next decade. The cost of Obamacare is making many Americans sick to their stomach, though.”


The special aired with similar scripts on WRGT in Dayton and WPEC in West Palm Beach.

Yolanda Harris, one of the anchors of the special, took to Facebook and Twitter late Tuesday night to address the criticisms.

“Thanks for your input but I’ve heard enough about the election special that aired yesterday,” she wrote. “Please take your complaints to our corporate headquarters.. Sinclair Broadcast Group.”

This is not the first time Sinclair has been criticized for a special about a political candidate. In 2004, the company came under fire for a documentary about then-Presidential candidate John Kerry‘s antiwar activities.

>Update: The special aired on six stations in Ohio, Iowa, Florida and South Carolina.

Watch part of the Sinclair special, via TPM, below: