Partisan Pay-Per-View, Wrestling Match to Follow

Politics on television isn't a pretty picture these days -- on either side of the camera.

Sinclair Broadcasting continues to press on to air its openly pro-President Bush, pro-Republican documentary called "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal." All this in spite that it isn't news, since it is exclusively sponsored by a Pennsylvania veterans group. Yet Sinclair insists on calling the show 'news' programming. (Sinclair also fired a reporter at one of its stations who criticized it.)

On the other side, pro-Senator Kerry, pro-Democrat supporter documentarian Michael Moore wants to air "The Michael Moore Pre-Election Special" as pay-per-view (PPV) event on Nov. 1 the night before the election, to be distributed by PPV provider In Demand.

The difference is Moore isn't calling his program 'news.' Sinclair needs to, according to the Federal Communications Commission equal time regulations, and it needs to ask the Kerry camp if it wants to participate.



But as an openly pro-Bush organization, Sinclair motives are clearly an afterthought. With Moore's PPV show, Moore can take a side. And he can let TV viewers decide -- buy or not buy the program (for $9.95), which is based on the critically-acclaimed theatrical documentary by Moore, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

As a broadcaster, Sinclair can't take sides. Not that Sinclair isn't thinking about its viewers. It is offering the show commercial-free. That means no local market screaming auto dealership owners and no fat-burning pill ads. Pro-Bush, yes; capitalistic pigs, no. (Of course, Sinclair isn't paying any money for the show either.)

Now In Demand is backing out of its deal with Moore, who says the company is nervous about the political overtones -- especially in light of the criticism Sinclair has received. To help normalize all political waters, Moore has offered Sinclair his special free-of-charge.

In Demand could cite business reasons as an excuse -- that no one will show up. But that's not Sinclair's fear. It isn't necessarily in it to make money -- all the more reason why the broadcaster should do a two-program package PPV event of its own, featuring both Michael Moore and the veterans group programs.

Perhaps there could be a wrestling match afterwards - which is in keeping with most successful PPV events.

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