The latest mandate from the Sinclair Broadcast Group calls for local TV anchors to deliver a “journalistic responsibility message,” that CNN says is a promo campaign “that sounds like pro-Trump propaganda.”
The article, written by CNN’s senior media correspondent Brian Stelter and appearing on the CNN website, also reports the following:
“The promos begin with one or two anchors introducing themselves and saying ‘I’m [we are] extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [proper news brand name of local station] produces. But I’m [we are] concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.’
“Then the media bashing begins.
“‘The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media,’ the script says. ‘More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control “exactly what people think” … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.’
“Then the anchors are supposed to strike a more positive tone and say that their local station pursues the truth. ‘We understand Truth is neither politically “left or right.” Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.’”
Stelter adds, “On its face, some of the language is not controversial. But that’s precisely why some staffers were so troubled by it. The promo script, they say, belies Sinclair management’s actual agenda to tilt reporting to the right.”
The story also adds this statement from Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s senior vice president of news: “Promo messages, like the one you are referring to, are very common in our industry. This promo addresses the troubling trend of false stories on social media [Livingston’s emphasis], and distinguishes our trusted local stations as news destinations where we are committed to honest and accurate reporting. This promo reminds our viewers of this mission.”
Sinclair, according to the company’s website, “owns and operates, programs or provides sales services to more television stations than anyone and has affiliations with all the major networks. In addition, Sinclair is the leading local news provider in the country….”
According to Variety, Sinclair currently owns 173 stations that serve about 80 markets. Sinclair is awaiting government approval to buy the Tribune TV stations. According to Sinclair itself, “Pro forma for the Tribune acquisition (before any related divestitures), the Company will own, operate and/or provide services to 233 television stations in 108 markets.”
To read many more details about this item, please click here, which takes you to CNN’s full story.
Here’s a report from last fall that the ‘PBS News Hour’ did about Sinclair combining local news and partisan political opinion: