Sinclair Broadcast Group is biased

07 April, 2018, 00:58 | Author: Valerie Santiago
  • These Pa. news stations are required to read a Trump-esque warning about 'false news'

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".

Sinclair owns more than 190 TV stations across the country, more than any other media company, and is seeking to acquire dozens more by purchasing Tribune Media.

The order: CNN reported last month that the conservative-leaning Sinclair ordered anchors at local affiliates to read what CNN media writer Brian Stelter describes as something akin to "pro-Trump propaganda". 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 risky to a democracy", the anchors read in the video.

The video compiled by the website Deadspin presents local anchors reciting from the same script, which in part echoes President Trump's criticism of news organizations.

The company's map of stations shows its presence is almost every part of the country except for northern and central states like Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota.

On Monday morning, MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough called Sinclair's fake news PSA "something we would mock the Russians for in the days of Pravda".

The script for the promos is the latest "must run" content that Sinclair has distributed to its stations, although the first that directed its local anchors to star in the spots, according to The Times.

The video's repetition illustrates Sinclair's reach in a way mere numbers can't, said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of NY.

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This isn't new behavior from Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Sinclair Broadcast Group runs local broadcast news stations that reach nearly 4 of 10 American households.

Sinclair did not return requests for comment.

Deadspin received a hat tip from HBO's John Oliver, whose "Last Week Tonight" did a lengthy story on Sinclair last season.

The video was widely circulated and caught the attention of news media professionals as well as celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel who shared the video to an even wider audience.

"Sinclair is now well-known for its history of abusing public trust to air right-wing spin and promote xenophobia on local news shows", says a statement from liberal media activist group Media Matters for America. Some told the outlet they believe the promos are "inappropriate", and one felt "uncomfortable" recording them.

But this outing of Sinclair doesn't harm democracy; it's good for it. The deal, which is still seeking approval from the FCC and Justice Dept., would give Sinclair the largest reach of any TV network in the nation, exceeding the current 39 percent ownership cap. "The "Fakers" at CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS have done so much dishonest reporting that they should only be allowed to get awards for fiction!" he wrote Tuesday. Evidently, it's not just creeping Oliver out either; several celebrities have expressed their concerns about the company.

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