View Full Version : 'Nightline' Devotes Show to Reading War Dead Names

Super Dave
04-28-04, 09:29 AM
The Full Story (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1896&e=11&u=/nm/20040428/us_nm/iraq_usa_names_dc)

04-29-04, 08:47 PM
April 29, 2004

Broadcasting chain bans televising of Nightline’s tribute to troops killed in Iraq
Sinclair Broadcast Group cites TV show’s ‘political agenda’ in airing the memorial

By Gordon Trowbridge
Times staff writer

Viewers in eight television markets will not see Friday’s broadcast of ABC’s “Nightline” – during which anchor Ted Koppel will read the names of hundreds of U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq – because of a national broadcasting chain’s decision to bar the episode.
Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Thursday that the eight ABC affiliates it owns would not show Friday’s “Nightline” because reading the names “appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.”

To justify the decision, a statement on the company’s Web site cited the fact that Koppel will read the names of the more than 500 U.S. troops killed in Iraq, and not the names of Americans killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and similar attacks since.

“Nightline” officials told The Associated Press that the broadcast is intended simply as a tribute to fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

The ABC broadcast will use names, hometowns and photographs provided by Army Times Publishing Co., the publisher of this Web site.

Among Sinclair’s ABC stations is one in Asheville, N.C., where some family members of servicemembers killed in Iraq said the company’s decision is misguided.

“That’s ridiculous,” Beth Whitener told the Asheville Citizen-Times. Whitener’s husband, 19-year-old Army Pfc. Joey Whitener was killed Nov. 15 when two Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq.

“I think it’ s more than appropriate to show those faces because they were over there fighting for our freedom. I think they have a right to be honored and shown on TV.”

Brenda Franklin, whose husband, Army Staff Sgt. Bobby Franklin, 38, was killed in August in an explosion in Baghdad, said the public needs to see the faces of the soldiers who have died in Iraq.

“We have paid a lot,” she told the newspaper. “My family has paid a lot. I think everybody needs to see the faces.”

In addition to its Asheville station, Sinclair owns ABC affiliates in St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; Greensboro, N.C.; Charleston, W.Va.; Mobile, Ala. (which also serves the Pensacola, Fla., area); Springfield, Mass.; and Tallahassee, Fla.

Nightline’s decision has come under criticism from some conservative commentators for the decision to read the names. Koppel, who was embedded with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division during its drive to Baghdad last year, was widely praised by television critics for providing some of the most compelling coverage of the war.

Sinclair, based in Hunt Valley, Md., owns 62 television stations across the country. Its Web site is www.sbgi.net; its phone number is (410) 568-1500.

Viewers who want to give feedback to ABC News can call the network at (212) 456-7777 or e-mail nightline@abcnews.com.