WASHINGTON – Saying they are “deeply outraged” over Sinclair Broadcast Group’s decision to air “Stolen Honor,” a film highly critical of John Kerry, a California couple have offered the company over $1 million to run George Butler’s film, “Going Upriver, the Long War of John Kerry.”
The couple, Deborah and Andrew Rappaport, made the offer in a letter delivered to Sinclair this afternoon.
It’s the latest volley in the burgeoning controversy over Sinclair’s plan to air “Stolen Honor.” The company owns 62 television stations that cover about 24 percent of U.S. households.
As WorldNetDaily first reported, “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal” presents former POWs who tell how Kerry’s 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was used as propaganda against them by their North Vietnamese captors, intensifying their persecution and possibly prolonging imprisonment.
The Rappaports purchased the rights to the film version of “Going Upriver” and paid the cost of editing it to 42 minutes – a move designed to offer a film of the exact same length as “Stolen Honor.”
Andrew Rappaport, a venture capitalist, and his wife, Deborah, a philanthropist, made the offer to buy an hour of broadcast time. In addition, they have offered Sinclair $1 million on top of the advertising revenue Sinclair would lose for showing the program without commercials, and any fines or penalties that might be accrued for pre-empting the scheduled broadcast.
The couple have requested Sinclair respond within 24 hours to allow for adequate time to carry out the offer. They are also waiting for Sinclair to tell them what the cost of an hour of pre-empted time would be.
The letter requests an equal audience reach and equal promotion as that given to “Stolen Honor.”
When asked in a press conference today whether purchasing the broadcast time would be considered illegal or an “in-kind” contribution to the Kerry campaign, Rappaport said no.
Deborah Rappaport was questioned several times by reporters as to whether or not she had been contacted by the Democratic Party or had notified party officials of the business offer to Sinclair.
“We don’t talk to them, and they don’t talk to us,” she responded.
Introduced to reporters as a donator to “progressive causes,” the Rappaports have given at least $2.66 million to Democratic causes, including $1.1 million to the New Democratic Network.
Vincent Roberti, one of the executive producers of “Going Upriver,” challenged other “TV executives” to come forward to show film, without “forcing private citizens to shell out money for this to happen.” When asked if there were any plans to show the film on another network, he replied, “Not yet.”
Roberti said the best outcome would be that “Stolen Honor” would not be shown.
Deborah Rappaport said “Stolen Honor” was “widely seen as overtly partisan, and it cannot be allowed to go unanswered.” She noted, “We can’t stop them from airing it,” but added the couple’s offer “should be appealing.”
“We’re providing the means to balance the coverage. This is a critically acclaimed film, that directly addresses ‘Stolen Honor.’”
“We’re not alone in our outrage,” Rappaport said, “There are advertisers, consumers and critics who are also outraged.”
She said her first reaction to Sinclair’s plan to air “Stolen Honor” was,”How dare Sinclair,” but then said she knew she needed to “turn outrage to action.”
“In the last 24 hours, ‘Stolen Honor’ has been denounced as biased political propaganda, and sadly Sinclair fired their Washington bureau chief over his protest.
“I hope they realize the error of their ways,” Rappaport said, “And that we hear from them in the next 24 hours so we can go forward in a timely fashion.”
Filmmaker George Butler has been described as a “confidant” of John Kerry and boasts of a 40-year friendship with the presidential candidate. In 1969, the friendship also included a political partnership when Butler agreed to handle the media for Kerry’s first campaign (for the Third Congressional District in Massachusetts). Because they were so short on staff, Butler not only managed the campaign’s media, he also took its publicity photos. He co-edited (with Kerry and David Thorne) “The New Soldier,” a book about the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.