Sinclair to DC buro chief: You're fired!

By Geraldine Sealey
Published October 19, 2004 2:25PM (EDT)

Well, that didn't take long. As War Room readers will recall, yesterday morning, the Baltimore Sun published remarks from Sinclair Broadcast Group's Washington bureau chief Jon Lieberman criticizing Sinclair's unprecedented decision to pre-empt programming with anti-Kerry propaganda days before the election. By Monday afternoon, Lieberman was out of a job. There was no subtle demotion here, no slow move to the crappy office, no attempt on Sinclair's part to even pretend there was room for in-house dissent on the "Stolen Honor" controversy. Instead, Lieberman's public criticism earned him a Trump-like "You're fired" from Sinclair honcho Mark Hyman. But hey, at least Lieberman still has his dignity -- and we'd think a much better chance at getting hired by a media outlet with acceptable standards, one that doesn't consider a one-sided hit piece on a presidential candidate "news."

In his statement on Lieberman's letting-go, Hyman said: "Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, including Jon Leiberman," said Mark Hyman, Sinclair's vice president for corporate relations. (Everyone is entitled to their opinion, they should just, apparently, keep it to themselves.) Hyman also pulled out the old "disgruntled employee" argument against Lieberman, diminishing him as someone with an axe to grind. But what Sinclair editorial staffer with any credibility wouldn't be disgruntled, we wonder?

The Baltimore Sun found another recently departed former "disgruntled employee" of Sinclair, Lisa Modarelli, who left in August 2004 because the pay was so low and out of frustration over Sinclair's decision to block its ABC stations from airing the Nightline program featuring Ted Koppel reading the names of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. "Our sources didn't trust us anymore, even though we didn't make that decision," Modarelli told the Sun. "They didn't want to work with us anymore because whatever we did, the story would turn out biased."

She added: "For me, it's just about ethical journalism."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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