FCC Chief Says Cannot Block Anti-Kerry Show
By Jeremy Pelofsky
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) cannot stop the broadcast of a show critical of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites)'s anti-war comments after returning from Vietnam, the agency's head said on Thursday
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. plans to air the "Stolen Honor" documentary which accuses Kerry of betraying fellow veterans of the Vietnam War by testifying to Congress in 1971 about atrocities he said were committed by U.S. forces in that conflict.
"Don't look to us to block the airing of the program," FCC (news - web sites) Chairman Michael Powell told reporters. "There is no rule that I'm aware of that would allow the commission, nor would it be prudent, to prevent the airing of programing."
One former prisoner of war interviewed for the program said Kerry's remarks were used by the Vietnamese to undermine their morale, according to his video account on the Web site for the documentary.
Democrats say the documentary is a political statement masquerading as news and have demanded the FCC and the Federal Election Commission (news - web sites) determine whether its broadcast would violate any regulations.
The American public, which owns the airwaves that Sinclair would use for its partisan political purposes, expects the FCC to uphold the basic principle of fairness which is at the root of our democracy," said a letter to Powell from 85 House of Representatives' Democrats sent on Wednesday.