Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

'False news' promos put Sinclair in spotlight

'False news' promos put Sinclair in spotlight

WJAR in Providence is one of 193 television stations controlled by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which wrote a promotional segment chastising fellow news organizations for publishing "irresponsible, one sided" and "fake stories", that echo attacks on the press from President Donald Trump. And another freedom is assailed under this Administration.

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".

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

That led Oliver to return to Sinclair on Sunday. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke", said the President on Twitter.

"Now a writer with Deadspin has put together a supercut of the promo from dozens of affiliates under the headline:" How America's Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump's War On The Media".

"So amusing to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased", Trump said. While almost every Sinclair owned station has opted-out of responding directly, this morning the station in Madison, Wisconsin announced it did not air a recent Sinclair must-read script, saying it "stayed true to our commitment" to viewers. The firm broadcasts free over-the-air programming, such as network provided programs, locally-produced news, local sporting events, programming from program service arrangements, syndicated entertainment programs, and internally originated programming to television viewing audiences in the communities through various local television stations.

Kirstin Pellizzaro, a former producer for a Sinclair-owned news station in MI, told the New York Times "I hope people realize that the journalists are trying their best, and this shouldn't reflect poorly on them".

In the Sinclair script, which Stelter obtained and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer posted Friday, local anchors begin the video segment stating their pride in "the quality, balanced journalism that (their station) produces".

"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", he said.

The promos served no political agenda, the company also said.

Bob Herzog, an anchor at Sinclair's Cincinnati, Ohio station WKRC, responded in a series of tweets that acknowledged viewers' concerns: "I understand there are concerns about the promo as evidenced by social media reaction". The broadcaster has said in the past that it offered similar coverage opportunities to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Republicans say change was overdue for the outmoded restrictions. If they're looking for local news, they're increasingly seeing less of it in favor of corporate "must runs" since Sinclair took over five years ago.

The merger, the group says, "will help it spread its conservative propaganda further across the country".

Ajit Pai, Trump's pick to chair the FCC, has already rolled back broadcast TV station ownership limits that would have prevented the merger.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short.

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