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Saturday, January 08, 2005

Staples - Sinclair - Media Matters: Opinion Roundup

The Staples - Sinclair - Media Matters story continues...

When we last visited our cast of characters, Staples was adamant that it is non-political and has not decided to cease advertising on Sinclair news. Media Matters was adamant that Staples had made an ad decision "based in part on the activism generated by SinclairAction.com," and claimed "Staples, Inc. officials reviewed, edited, and approved the Media Matters press release of January 4, 2005, in both draft and final form." And Sinclair (see below) was not taking any of this lying down.

My opinion: Whatever happened earlier, I now very much doubt Staples has a political agenda. That was the core issue with me, and failing some unexpected development in this story, I consider that aspect settled.

As a matter of interest, I am curious about the Media Matters claim that Staples officials (plural!) approved their January 4 press release. I'd like to know more, and wonder: Why is Media Matters being so vague about this? Name names, why don'tja?

Oh, and if I were running SinclairAction (there's a dubious proposition) I would not still have this


on my website as of January 8.

Pending further developments in this case, which may or may not be forthcoming, here's a roundup of recent statements and commentary:

Sinclair speaks:

Sinclair Broadcast Group makes it clear it means business.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) is pleased to note that in a press release issued on January 6, 2005 and as posted on their website (www.staples.com), office supply retailer Staples, Inc. states that it intends to continue to advertise on Sinclair television stations and has no policy against advertising in Sinclair news programming... The clarification of Staples' media buying process as it relates to Sinclair directly contradicts statements made by several organizations with what appear to be far-left leaning political agendas who have engaged in an ongoing Internet-based campaign of harassment against Sinclair. Notwithstanding the clear message from Staples, these organizations continue to claim that their actions have caused Staples to discontinue advertising on Sinclair stations. Obviously these claims are not accurate.
And ups the ante:
Although Sinclair respects the rights of these organizations to voice their opinions, we find inappropriate that their tactics include advocating their constituency to contact our advertisers in a blatant attempt to use economic pressure to censor the speech of Sinclair. Moreover, the continued misrepresentation of the facts surrounding any company's advertising practices regarding Sinclair stations constitutes "trade defamation" which would entitle Sinclair to seek damages in a court of law. Sinclair will aggressively pursue any organization or any individual which engages in such defamation, including individuals who lend their names to mass e-mail campaigns spreading such misinformation.
Mainstream press confirms Friday what we posted Thursday (but then, we don't have their resources):
CBS, among others, is reporting Staples will continue to advertise on Sinclair, including Sinclair news broadcasts.
Bloggers and websites have the fun discussions:
WEBCommentary says: Do NOT boycott Staples.

Balloon Juice has a recap and a good debate in comments.

Mr. Blonde's Garage uses Google cache on SinclairAction, while Media Matters ally Oliver Willis debates him in the comments section.

Bloggledygook begins: "Well, looks like the Staples Affair just doesn't want to quit. David Brock posts a letter to Staples CEO Ron Sargent more or less accusing him of lying..."

Considerettes has lots to say.

Patterico still has questions.

CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones has been covering the story daily, as has Talon News and The Redhunter.
A correspondent shares a recent e-mail from Staples:

Harold M. Molter of Auburn, MI writes to share the response he received when he sent an email to Staples:
Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. Our media buying process with Sinclair Broadcasting stations has recently been misrepresented by an organization with no affiliation to Staples. Staples regularly drops and adds specific programs from our media buying schedule, as we evaluate and adjust how to best reach our customers. We do not let political agendas drive our media buying decisions.

Staples does not support any political party. We advertise with a variety of media outlets, but do not necessarily share the same views of these organizations or what they report. As we have done for a number of years, Staples will continue to advertise on Sinclair Broadcasting stations.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.

Staples
A gracious note, considering that Staples has probably had more feedback than it ever wanted this week.

Folks, I hope the Staples - Sinclair - Media Matters story is winding down. If not, I will post updates here, but this blog is going to return to covering other issues.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:31 AM

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