Nightline Versus the Party Line | Vox Pop | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Nightline Versus the Party Line

A network with a local affiliate tries to pull the plug on debate

Maybe you've noticed the new faces on what used to be a local 10 p.m. newscast on WPGH, the Pittsburgh Fox affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcasting. Sheila Hyland, the local blonde on Fox 53, has had her face time cut in half so we can get the half-baked conservative talking points from half-assed Sinclair reporters and commentators, live from "News Central" in Baltimore, whatever the hell that is.


If you haven't heard, the owners of Sinclair are heavy contributors to Republican campaign coffers. reports that 98 percent of Sinclair's political contributions went to Republicans. CEO David Smith personally gave $2,000 to the Bush re-election campaign according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The New York Times reports Sinclair made news in September 2001, when it ordered news personnel in Baltimore to read patriotic statements supporting President Bush.


But if you just watch this drivel you can tell where "News Central" stands on the issues: squarely behind Dubya's butt. These reporters have a nose for news, and the noses are decidedly brown.


The propaganda cast features commentator and resident pinhead Mark Hyman. At least Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity exude a professional demeanor: This guy's writing and presentation SCREAM amateur. But let's get to what really got my goat. You may have heard that Sinclair Broadcasting refused to run Ted Koppel's Nightline at eight Sinclair ABC affiliates when Ted read the names and showed the photos of hundreds of soldiers who fought and died in Iraq. These idiots labeled it anti-war propaganda, accused Nightline of having a political agenda and refused to air the program. Then the aforementioned pinhead Mark Hyman (there's a cherry-popping joke in there somewhere) labeled the controversy -- one his own company created -- "Koppelgate."


What is killing me here is the whole day-is-night, night-is-day, dogs-and-cats-living-together, upside-down world these right-wingers are trying to create. It is, of course, Sinclair that has the political agenda ... it's called CENSORSHIP. They're terrified that Mr. and Mrs. Apple Pie might actually remember that people DIE in war, because then we'll never stick around Iraq long enough to create the American puppet government that will inevitably turn into a Shiite-dominated theocracy resulting in a horrible bloody civil war that makes us regret invading the country on a flimsy pretext. Perhaps we could prevent that by keeping hundreds of thousands of troops who will forever be sitting ducks for terrorists and bankrupt our treasury to keep the peace for millions of people who freaking hate our guts. As I like to say, you can't spell "unwinnable war" without Dubya.


So here's what Pinhead the commentator boy says about "Koppelgate." He quotes a WW II veteran as saying Koppel would have suggested that since Hitler "had not attacked the United States, we would be smart to pull out of World War II." Mr. Pinhead forgot to mention that Germany declared war on us, shortly after its ally Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Yes, we were attacked! It's little things like that that make you go to war. Or at least that's why we used to go.


Mr. Pinhead continues, "Unfortunately, lost in the background of Koppelgate are our brave troops who are fighting to preserve what we practice at home ... open debate in a free society." Jesus! They censor a TV show honoring the troops, stifling real debate about the cost of war, they create a phony "Koppelgate" scandal to distract us, and then they blame the distraction on this fantasy scandal.


Here's the kicker: The fuss Sinclair created drove ratings up in cities across America, including Pittsburgh. And what does conservative icon Bill O'Reilly think about this? He wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times stating, "There is no anti-war record on Nightline's rap sheet." Even Mr. Shrill gets it!


So for those of you are confused, let's review: People die in war and it's OK to honor them on TV. Sinclair has propagandists posing as journalists, censoring truth and creating phony controversy. And on this issue, even Bill O'Reilly gets it. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.