By ordering its stations to pre-empt their prime-time schedule to air an anti-Kerry film, SBG has drawn the country's attention to a gathering threat: Weapons of Mass Deception.

More dangerous than anything a terrorist group or an outcast state like Iraq is our ability to subvert ourselves. By choosing to define an obviously polemical film as "news," Sinclair has finally illuminated the bar between news and entertainment or propaganda.

Admittedly the bar is so low that only a snake could limbo under it, but it's there and it's generating enough publicity to raise questions in the minds of people who might ordinarily spend very little time thinking about the nature and purpose of public airwaves.

Public airwaves are just that: public. They're held in trust; they don't belong to television station owners of any political persuasion, and the owners have an obligation to serve the public by at least adhering to the minimal restrictions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission.

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