The latest from the Political Grapevine:
'Biased Political Propaganda'?
The Washington Bureau chief for Sinclair Broadcast Group (search) — which is planning a broadcast based on charges in an anti-Kerry documentary — is condemning his own company's plans as "biased political propaganda with clear intentions to sway this election."
Jon Leiberman (search) tells the Baltimore Sun, "For me, it's not about right or left — it's about what's right or wrong in news coverage this close to an election. There is going to be a concerted effort on the part of my colleagues to make this as balanced a program as they can. But the selection of the material ... [is] indefensible, in my opinion."
A Sinclair official calls Leiberman a "disgruntled employee," and says he violated company policy by speaking to the press about company business.
TV News Tilting to Kerry?
A new survey by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (search) shows the three big networks' evening newscasts all tilt in favor of John Kerry.
The survey, conducted last month, shows that on ABC's evening news, 38 percent of Kerry coverage was positive, while only 20 percent of Bush coverage was.
NBC's evening news had a pro-Kerry margin of 38 to 30 percent, and CBS's newscast was the most balanced with Kerry favored 38 to 35 percent.
By the way, the same survey found that news coverage on this program was virtually even, 30 percent of Bush coverage being favorable, and 28 percent of Kerry coverage.
Speaking of ABC, the network seems to be backing away from its recent directive to focus more on exposing President Bush's distortions than Kerry's. On its Web site, ABC says, "The president's campaign continues to try to win by distorting [and] taking things out of context ... Kerry's campaign is now doing many of the same things. Both campaigns should expect equally aggressive reporting on misrepresentations. ...
"The press has the responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest. That's why unbiased vigilance is required every day, the rest of the way, for both sides."
Mohammad's Make of It
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad (search), who stepped down last year, is urging Muslims in the U.S. to vote against President Bush, insisting in an open letter, "There is an obvious connection between the suffering of the Muslims and the policies and thinking of Bush. ...
"Bush has shown that ... he is the cause of the tragedies in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq. ... There is no doubt he will continue to do this if re-elected."
Speaking of foreign leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin (search) says terrorism in Iraq is, for the most part, not aimed at defeating coalition forces, but at "prevent[ing] the election of President Bush to a second term."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report