Scripted promotions on Sinclair news channels spark debate over media ownership

Scripted promotions on Sinclair news channels spark debate over media ownership

Scripted promotions on Sinclair news channels spark debate over media ownership

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Sinclair Broadcasting for forcing their local news anchors to read from a script about "biased and false news", which is basically repeating talking (err, screaming) points from President Trump, many are questioning why the these journalists don't just quit.

The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcasting Group is requiring anchors to read verbatim a script praising the "quality, balanced journalism" of local stations, while bemoaning the "sharing of biased and false news" by national media, according to CNN.

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 risky to our democracy". "More alarming, is some media outlets publish same fake stories without checking facts first".

"Sinclair's probably the most unsafe company most people have never heard of", said Michael Copps, the chairman of Federal Communications Commission under George W. Bush.

The existence of the script was reported by CNN almost a month ago, and Deadspin posted a video of news anchors from around the country reading the script to their viewers this past weekend. Most notably, President Donald Trump on Monday sent a series of tweets lauding Sinclair Broadcasting while simultaneously skewering CNN and NBC.

"The print media is so left-wing as to be meaningless dribble, which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away", Sinclair's executive chairman, David Smith, told New York Magazine. Co-host Mika Brzezinski said she was surprised some of the local anchors didn't refuse to read it.

The scripted segments went viral over the weekend when Deadspin put together a mash-up of Sinclair anchors across the country repeating the same speech.

Scott Livingston, senior Vice President of Sinclair, told the Baltimore Sun that the script was used to demonstrate their "commitment to reporting facts".

All of Maine's other local television stations also are owned by out-of-state companies, but their managers say they have never been required to run opinion segments produced by their owners.

Nine months ago, John Oliver pointed out the insanity going on with the broadcast company on his show Last Week Tonight. "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 said.

The statement pointed to a Monmouth University Polling Institute study which found that more than three quarters of Americans believed traditional media outlets report "fake news".

Fischer said television news anchors and reporters at WJAR and other stations are afraid to speak out, and their contracts give the union little power to protect them if they do. For example, a December 2016 story by Politico said that The Trump campaign "struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage".

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.

"It is ironic that we would be attacked for messages promoting our journalistic initiative for fair and objective reporting, and for specifically asking the public to hold our newsrooms accountable", a statement from Sinclair Broadcast Group said.

William C. Martin increased its stake in Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (SBGI) by 69.63% based on its latest 2017Q4 regulatory filing with the SEC.

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