Oct. 21, 2004 – The lead political reporter for Sinclair Broadcast Group was fired this week after he publicly criticized his employer for planning to air a movie attacking Senator John Kerryâ€™s Vietnam record.
In interviews with CNN and other media outlets, Jon Leiberman said he opposed Sinclairâ€™s decision to broadcast the anti-Kerry film "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal."
"I feel so strongly that our credibility is at issue here," Leiberman told CNN. "I feel our company is trying to sway this election."
In a written statement, Sinclair Vice President Mark Hyman called Lieberman a "disgruntled employee," a charge the twice-promoted Lieberman denies. "Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, including Jon Leiberman," the company statement said. "We are disappointed that Jon's political views caused him to speak to the press about company business."
Lieberman told the Washington Post that he understood he was violating company policy when he gave an unauthorized interview, but said he had no choice. "I knew I had nothing to gain by doing it and everything to lose," he said. "I need to be able to sleep at night."
Four top Sinclair officials, including the companyâ€™s chief executive, have given $121,000 to President Bush and the Republicans since 1999. Hyman, the Sinclair Vice President, has accused other networks of "acting like Holocaust deniers" for ignoring the former POWs featured in the anti-Kerry film.