I received this press release this morning from the National Center for Public Policy Research:
Group Wonders If Staples Will Boycott CBS
Office supply retailer Staples, Inc. has decided to withdraw advertising buys from news broadcasts on Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. television stations in response to an e-mail campaign by left-wing activists, according to reports by the Washington Post and other newspapers.
The activists had complained that Sinclair was "placing partisan interest ahead of the public interest" by broadcasting conservative and pro-President Bush commentaries.
Staples spokesman Owen Davis told the Washington Post that "concerns expressed by our customers" regarding Sinclair content was a factor in Staples Inc.'s decision.
The National Center for Public Policy Research has contacted Staples to confirm these facts and to ask if Staples would halt advertising on CBS or other media if it received complaints from customers. It has yet to receive a reply.
During the last presidential election, CBS News ran a fabricated story apparently designed to affect the election, then failed to correct its reporting until long past the point at which it had become a focus of national derision.
"If Staples wants to avoid supporting political media, it should start by boycotting CBS," said National Center President Amy Ridenour. "Sinclair may irritate some on the left by being openly pro-American, but, unlike CBS, it didn't team up with forgers in an attempt to play dirty politics on the eve of the last presidential race."
Additional updates to this story, inclusing (sic) any response The National Center receives from Staples, will be made available on The National Center's blog.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market organization established in 1982 and located in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 or email@example.com or visit The National Center's website at www.nationalcenter.org.
Here's what the Washington Post says:
Office-supply retailer Staples Inc. is pulling its advertising from news programming on Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. television stations, saying the decision was fueled in part by e-mails from customers angry at what they consider to be the broadcaster's right-wing bias in news and commentary.
Advertising during Sinclair's news programs accounts for "a very small part of the overall buy," said Staples spokesman Owen Davis, who would not disclose the publicly traded company's ad budget.
Sinclair chief executive David D. Smith said he was unaware of Staples' decision. Smith -- whose father, Julian Sinclair Smith, founded Sinclair in 1971 -- said he has received no complaints from advertisers regarding the broadcaster's news and commentary programming.
Seems as if Media Matters, David Brock's gadfly organization, has something to do with this:
Yesterday, Media Matters took partial credit for the Staples decision, but said it never intended to launch a boycott. Instead, its effort was meant to inform advertisers of the nature of the news and commentary on Sinclair stations, the group said.
I spoke to David Almasi a few minutes ago. He said that they have not heard anything from Staples as of this morning (the P.R. was released last night) but that they would put up any new developments on their blog.
Read Amy Ridenour's (NCPPR President) latest here.
I'll update as (if) more information comes in. I don't honestly know what the impact this might have, other than to be a minor irritant to Sinclair. And Staples isn't exactly taking a big risk here, so the action seems more symbolic than anything else.
According to opensecrets.org, Staples CEO Ronald L Sargent gave $6000.00 in 2003 to the presidential campaigns, $4000 to Kerry, $2000 to Bush.
In October, Sinclair broadcast program examining allegations concerning John Kerry's anti-Vietnam activities. Many liberal advocacy groups cried foul over the timing and what they claimed was an anti-Kerry bias on the part of the broadcaster.