Conservative Broadcaster Drives Web Traffic--To The Democrats

Many online companies talk about creating synergy between the Internet and television, but Sinclair Broadcasting might have proven that TV shows really can drive up Web traffic--although perhaps not in the way Sinclair would have liked.

Visits to the Democratic National Committee's Web site,, nearly doubled in the week after news broke that Sinclair Broadcasting planned to air an anti-Kerry program on its 62 affiliated television stations, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. drew an estimated 574,000 unique visitors at home during the week ending Oct. 17--up from 300,000 the week before--and 1,025,000 million at work--up from 568,000 the prior week, according to data released last Friday. Neither the Bush-Cheney '04 Web sites nor the John Kerry for President Web sites showed at-home similar leaps. At-work figures were not available for the Bush-Cheney '04 Web sites, and no figures were available for the Republican National Committee's Web site.

The spike was apparently in response to news, which broke on Oct. 10, that Sinclair Broadcasting planned to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," which was funded by anti-Kerry veterans, and attacks the presidential candidate for protesting the war in Vietnam after he returned from duty in the Navy. put up a page dedicated to Sinclair's decision that compared the Vietnam-era histories of Kerry and Bush, and also asked supporters to protest Sinclair's planned broadcast. Almost half of the visitors to went to that page, according to Nielsen//Net Ratings.

Separately from the Web campaign, The New York Times reported on Oct. 18 that local advertisers in Portland, Me., Madison, Wis., Springfield, Ill., and Minneapolis withdrew their ads from Sinclair stations. Fast food giant Burger King also announced last Wednesday that it would pull ads off of Sinclair stations that were scheduled to run the day of the broadcast.

In the end, Sinclair revamped its plans and aired a news program Friday, "A P.O.W. Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media," which included only several minutes of "Stolen Honor," and also included a few minutes of the pro-Kerry film "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry."

Next story loading loading..