The NY Times reports that the Sinclair Group, a collection of local broadcast stations, pre-empted a broadcast of ABC’s Nightline program from several of its affiliates. The reason? They dared to remind viewers that, unbelievable as it may be in today’s high-tech warefare, soldiers do actually die in combat. The program featured an on-air recitation of the names of all those who had died so far in Iraq.
Beyond the senselessness of being unpatriotic enough to allow honor to those who had been killed in combat, this once again raises the issue around media consolidation. That ABC was willing to arrange alternative ways to send their message to people in the markets where the disruption occurred was only possible because there were alternative paths to take. As consolidation continues, those paths for sending out one’s message continue to shrink.