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Sinclair’s Mandates About ‘Fake News’ Promos Are Causing Tensions With Its Local Stations

Apr 2, 2018  •  Post A Comment

Tensions are rising between Sinclair Broadcast Group management and the company’s local stations, with the company’s widely criticized mandate that stations air anti-media rhetoric at the center of the conflict, according to a report by CNN.

As we reported a few weeks ago, Sinclair is requiring local TV anchors to deliver a “journalistic responsibility message,” which was described by CNN as pro-Trump propaganda.

The promos went viral over the weekend after Deadspin edited many of them together to demonstrate how anchors on Sinclair stations nationwide were told to read the same script. You can see that video by clicking here.

CNN quotes an investigative reporter at Sinclair, speaking anonymously, saying: “It sickens me the way this company is encroaching upon trusted news brands in rural markets.”

“The reporter and other Sinclair employees in several different markets described tense conversations in their newsrooms and anger directed at the company’s Hunt Valley, Maryland, headquarters,” CNN reports.

Sinclair is the largest owner of TV stations in the country, owning or operating 173 stations.

“A person in Sinclair management confirmed that tensions are on the rise,” CNN reports, adding: “The company’s conservative-leaning politics have come down to Sinclair’s stations through ‘must runs’ — stories local producers are told to air during their newscasts. The ‘Terrorism Alert Desk’ is a recurring segment. Pro-Trump commentaries by former Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn are another ‘must-run’ feature.”

5 Comments

  1. This mandate is really unfair. Why should Sinclair want their news people to be honest? We have all the other media in our pockets. The NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc, are all on board with the Dump Trump Program. What gives Sinclair or Fox News the right to tell the truth? Every other news organization knows they can lie and none of their brethren will ever call them out on it. If people start finding out the truth, and worse, actually believe the truth, it could be really be bad for our Democratic candidates in the fall.

  2. No one at Sinclair is being “held hostage”. That is the kind of ridiculous rhetoric that makes people question news organizations and reporters today. Sinclair employees are free to find new jobs just like the employees of the New York Times or the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal. I know that if I disagree with my employer when asked to do something, I always have the option of finding another job, or comply with the request. And with today’s 4% unemployment there is no trouble for the intelligent people in the newsroom finding another employer. Providing viewers a place where they can file their grievances is not an issue that reporters should be concerned about. It is a good business practice that most business offer their customers. It is much better that the station can respond to the viewers and explain the facts; as it is often the case where the viewer hasn’t seen the whole story or the previous day’s initial reports. Also, for those viewers who have editorial positions, it gives them a place to file them rather than just trashing the Facebook page.

  3. Let me set the record straight for you here. Some of the employees are free to find new jobs. However the the on air talent are not those people. These are the people that take the flack for things like this. They are under contracts that involve heavy penalties and no competition clauses that make it not worth fighting to get out of. And with the looming buy-out of Tribune that leaves fewer stations for people to move on too.

    I do not understand the logic of the higher-ups that started all of this. How they thought that there would not be backlash is completely myopic.

    Having people submit the “issues” to the station directly serves no purpose because that is easy to ignore. Social media is potentially more harmful to stations because the “gang” mentality that places like Facebook generate could hurt the bottom line more.

    And it is harder to trust local stations when they must run pieces from people Like Boris Epshteyn and Mark Hyman, that are completely one sided.

    I don’t mind National stations like CNN or FOX NEWS spouting out biased reporting because you know where they are coming from. But Local News should be the last bastion of biased free news and should be informing people of the events around their local area, events that actually affect them on a day to day basis.

    • Right on. It’s all part of the plan to make the public distrust the people we trust to TELL US THE TRUTH by not telling the truth.

  4. Good on Sinclair and David Smith for this approach. The left has had too strong a strangle hold on our media and by pointing that out and trying to create balance, it attracts the attention the issue deserves. Go Sinclair!

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