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Kerry filmmaker playing games with Sinclair

Posted By Sherrie Gossett On 10/22/2004 @ 5:00 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled

Editor’s note: Sherrie Gossett, a longtime contributing reporter for WorldNetDaily, now works for Accuracy in Media in Washington, D.C., and files this report.

WASHINGTON – Today, the Associated Press reports that filmmaker George Butler is suing Sinclair Broadcast Group over an alleged plan by the company to include footage of his film in the big POW piece running tonight.

Butler wanted to stop Sinclair from using his pictures and film, the pro-Kerry “Going Upriver.” This after Butler’s executive producers Vincent Roberti and Bill Samuels joined in Deborah Rappaport’s phone press conference Tuesday to make a big noise about how Sinclair should show their film along with “Stolen Honor” – to be fair and balanced – and offering over $1 million to Sinclair to air the documentary. “I’m really comfortable with this offer,” Roberti said Tuesday, “I think it’s a great alternative.”

The Associated Press makes no mention of the previous Rappaport offer, even though AP reporter Alex Dominguez was in the phone press conference and reported the offer before. The AP story is running on Newsday, Fosters Online ABC News (WJLA ), News 24 South Africa, and on the Dow Jones newswires. A Reuters story also makes no mention of the previous offer.

Butler said the airing of clips would violate his copyrights. AP doesn’t tell you that at Tuesday’s press conference, Deborah Rappaport said she and husband Andrew had purchased the airing rights so that the film could be aired on Sinclair, offered to cover all the costs associated with airing the film, in addition to giving Sinclair $ 1million on top of that, to get the film on the air.

If the true intent here really was to get “Going Upriver” (or parts of it) on the Sinclair airwaves, surely working out copyright details is a minor matter. It’s interesting to recall Samuels’ comments at the million-dollar offer press conference. The “best outcome,” Samuels said, would be for Sinclair to “back off” and not show “Stolen Honor” … or his own film.

It was MoveOn.org that originally started pushing for Sinclair to air “Going Upriver.” That theme ran through all the other Democratic-led attacks on Sinclair over the last two weeks. The Rappaports pushed for it, the film’s executive producers pushed for it, the Veteran’s Institute pushed for it Wednesday at the National Press Club.

AP describes Butler as a “longtime chronicler” of Kerry, but omits a more nuanced identification of him as a 40-year friend of Kerry’s who worked on the senator’s first campaign.

AP notes that Butler has taken thousands of pictures of Kerry since 1969 and that the film includes many of Kerry’s Vietnam War comrades praising his leadership and valor.

In contrast, “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal” is described as an “anti-Kerry documentary.”

“That film consists mostly of interviews with U.S. prisoners of war who survived imprisonment and torture in Hanoi, and emerged enraged at Kerry for helping lead the anti-war movement after he completed his Vietnam service.” AP reports.

This typical characterization of the POW testimony goes light on Kerry, implying the POWs are hawks who despise “those peaceniks” like Kerry. As in other press accounts, the specter of Kerry giving public testimony that characterized the U.S. military in sweeping terms as predominantly evil, at a time when POWs were still being held and under threat of death and torture, seems not to register as controversial with reporters. No distinction is made in the full spectrum between believing the war was a mistake, working to end it, and the graphic and over-the-top public pronouncements of Kerry. No reporter seems to have seen fit to ask if Kerry’s motivations were sincere. Why did his actions all have to be in the public limelight? If Kerry was sincere, why didn’t he express his graphic concerns privately with government officials and work through channels that represented no psychological or physical threat to present POWs?

Diana West of the Washington Times asks today, why won’t any reporter ask Kerry exactly what kind of war crimes he’s guilty of? (He confessed publicly that he had committed war crimes, at a time when it was more popular than now to say such things.)

And to top off today’s story of the filmmaker lawsuit, comes word from defense lawyers at Sinclair that “A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media” will not contain any of the copyrighted works.

Perhaps Butler had hoped to throw a last-minute wrench into their production/editing process.

Related stories:

Sinclair: Kerry’s attacks waged amid private talks

Sinclair execs accused of insider trading

Sinclair won’t run all of ‘Stolen Honor’

Over $1 million offered to get Kerry film on air

Kerry wants ‘equal time’ to counter ‘Stolen Honor’

FCC won’t block anti-Kerry film

Pro-Kerry film wants equal time

‘Stolen Honor’ producer predicts Kerry apology

FCC official blasts plan to air anti-Kerry film

David Brock protests airing of anti-Kerry film

Pulitzer winner behind Kerry POW film

Next up: POWs blast Kerry in TV documentary


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