|Sinclair operates 62 TV stations in 39 markets, including 20 Fox, 19 WB, 6 UPN, 8 ABC, 3 CBS and 4 NBC affiliates.
A Staples spokesman confirmed the marketer is no longer running local advertising on Sinclair stations' news programs, but said national advertising may still run on Sinclair stations in non-news programs.
He would not elaborate on the decision, but said one factor was the concerns expressed by customers -- "a number that warranted Staples considering them," the spokesman said.
Those concerns stemmed from a campaign by a left-leaning nonprofit group called Media Matters for America, which urged its members to contact advertisers who ran messages on Sinclair station newscasts.
Sinclair became the news last year with its public support of President Bush and its airing of a virulently anti-Sen. John Kerry documentary shortly before the election. Sinclair newscasts also air conservative commentary without presenting a liberal response. Media Matters for America has asked advertisers to pull ads until Sinclair agrees to air a counterpoint message on its newscasts.
Sinclair did not return requests for comment.
Staples' ad buys in question represent a very small portion of the marketer's media buy, the spokesman said. He would not disclose the number or Staples' total media budget, but the retailer spent $23.4 million on TV advertising in January through July of 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
'Not a boycott'
Sally Aman, a spokeswoman for Media Matters, said, "It's not an advertiser boycott, but an effort to inform the public about their use of the public airwaves and encourage Sinclair to seek a counterpoint."
She said Staples is the first marketer to react; a Web site, SinclairAction.com, lists Kraft, McDonald's Corp., Target, Geico and Sprint as other "notable Sinclair advertisers." Staples appears on that list with a line through its name.