Sinclair Responds To "Unfounded Media Criticism" Over Local Journalists' Scripted Mantra

Marsha Scott
April 4, 2018

Sinclair is a television broadcasting company that owns or operates 193 USA television stations and 614 channels.

Sinclair Broadcast Group has been the subject of widespread ridicule for forcing its local TV news anchors to read a script decrying "fake stories" and "false news".

Timothy Burke, the video editor who created the Deadspin video, said he requested and received more than 50 examples of the statement read on air.

"The net result of the company's current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos..." he said.

President Trump weighed in on the Sinclair controversy this week in a series of tweets, criticizing those speaking out against the conservative media company and calling them "Fake News".

"We're concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country", the script says.

A transcript of the on-air advisory posted to Deadspin read in part, "The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media".

(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control "exactly what people think".This is extremely unsafe to a democracy.

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Plenty of others disagree, calling the move "Orwellian" and "extremely risky to our democracy", while defenders including President Donald Trump say it's legit in the era of fake news. While some people claimed that the entire newsroom "should walk out", another said, "Let them corrupt local TV news with mindless conservative conspiracies".

During the 2016 presidential election, Sinclair stations "gave a disproportionate amount of neutral or favorable coverage to Trump during the campaign" while airing stories on Hillary Clinton, a December Washington Post analysis showed.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the Sinclair anti-fake news script in a tweet Monday, defending Sinclair.

Well, in an era of so much news, the attempt to discriminate between what's fake and what's real investigative reporting is getting harder - at least that is something we can all collectively agree upon.

Sinclair Broadcast group is in the process of acquiring Chicago-based Tribune Media. Sinclair, which has a history of supporting conservative candidates, as a company has similar political views to those of Trump.

Despite being the country's largest broadcaster, Sinclair is not well known by the average American, with many viewers unaware that Sinclair controls their local news station. Others say they'd like to do more, but they're wary due to what they say is Sinclair's policy and practice of closely monitoring its employees. Sinclair is known for regularly sending video segments to the stations they own, classifying them as "must-runs". That's the goal of these announcements: "to reiterate our commitment to reporting facts in the pursuit of truth". Sinclair-owned station and would ask other Democratic congressional candidates to refuse to buy campaign advertising from Sinclair stations. It's one of the largest owners of TV stations in the country. "Yeah, nothing says we value independent media like dozens of reporters forced to repeat the same message over and over again like members of a brainwashed cult", Oliver quipped. On Monday morning, Trump himself defended Sinclair on Twitter, saying that the corporation was better than CNN or NBC News.

The Sinclair promo doesn't mention the news outlets which are pushing a personal bias or agenda.

"The critics are now upset about our well-researched journalistic initiative focused on fair and objective reporting", Livingston said in an internal memo on Monday, published by CNN.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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