Arkansas TV Station Defers To Sinclair Broadcasting On Airing Conservative Messaging

04 April, 2018, 01:11 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • President Trump supports Sinclair Broadcasting Group's 'false news' promo

After numerous negative stories about Sinclair Broadcast Group's directive to its television newsrooms to air a message about fake news, the company's executive chairman lashed out at print media. Sinclair-owned stations around the United States have been repeating it on air while Sinclair seeks the Trump administration's approval of a proposed merger with Tribune Media Company.

So Burke, the video director at Deadspin, pieced together video of anchors at 45 Sinclair-owned stations across the United States, all reading from a script that the Maryland-based company recently distributed to its stations about the perils of "fake news" and how it is "extremely unsafe to our democracy".

"Unfortunately", it said, "some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think".

Free-speech advocates and many Democrats said that allowing a company like Sinclair to own so many stations would hurt consumers, by limiting the diversity of news.

Several KOMO employees said anchors at the station had met to discuss a protest when word came down last month about the "fake news" script Sinclair mandated they read.

Sinclair's conservative views are a subject of discussion and is a factor as the company is looking to expand by purchasing Tribune Media which is now under review by federal regulators.

President Trump loved the Sinclair script, which echoes Trump's frequent complaints about the media spreading "fake news" stories. As CNNMoney reported in early March, Sinclair Broadcast Group sent the script and directions to station news directors stating that "the 60- and 75-second spots should run frequently 'to create maximum reach and frequency'". Among those who make more than $75,000 a year or have at least a college degree, less than 30% often get their information from local television news.

Then, President Donald Trump jumped in, defending the company on Twitter.

What unites these stations in markets as widely varied as Montana and SC is not the same ideological beliefs but corporate owner Sinclair Broadcasting, which forces its beliefs on the stations.

"The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media", their scripts read.

When media giants gobble up local news stations, there are repercussions. Oliver tore into the company on Sunday night. Sinclair said if the deal is approved it would sell but continue to operate stations in Chicago and NY.

David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, said he dislikes and fundamentally distrusts the print media, which he believes "serves no real objective".

In December, White House adviser Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, also acknowledged that, during the 2016 election, the Trump campaign struck a deal with Sinclair to obtain favorable coverage in exchange for greater access to the campaign.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would need to approve the merger proposal, determining if it adhered to antitrust laws.

"The critics are now upset about our well-researched journalistic initiative focused on fair and objective reporting". If consummated, the $4 billion deal would give Sinclair 2.2 million viewers and unprecedented reach into local communities across the country.

The longer segment about Sinclair that Oliver refers to above originally appeared in July of a year ago.


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