Saturday, 26 May, 2018

Sinclair Executive Chairman Lashes Out at Print Media Calling It 'Meaningless Dribble'

Sinclair tells stations to air media-bashing promos- and criticism goes viral Sinclair Sinclair Broadcast Group is America's biggest owner of local TV stations
Steven Clarke | 04 April, 2018, 01:32

They go on to say that some media persons "use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda", and that "this is extremely unsafe to our democracy".

Sinclair's script for its TV news anchors is strikingly similar to statements Trump makes about media outlets that criticize him.

A major U.S. broadcasting company is under fire for having its local TV stations air a message that echoes President Donald Trump's criticism of "fake" news stories.

"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", he wrote on Monday. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke", said the President on Twitter.

But one reporter, who belonged to Sinclair-owned local TV station KOMO 4, made it very clear to Trump that this was not amusing.

National Public Radio's David Folkenflik anticipated Sinclair stations moving in a more conservative direction last Spring, "If history is any guide". The spots bemoan the "troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country", in what CNN says sound "like pro-Trump propaganda". The anchors then go on to say that many media outlets are publishing "fake stories" and pushing agendas.

The script said "some outlets publish fake stories without checking facts first, and some people in the media push their own biases to control exactly what people think".

Braun was one of 15 anchors shown saying, "This is extremely unsafe to our democracy".

Sinclair(SBGI) is the biggest owner of local television stations in the United States, owning or operating 173 of them.

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The Post also notes that "all of Sinclair's four nationally syndicated commentators offer conservative views (former Trump press aide Boris Epshteyn; commentator Mark Hyman; "Full Measure" host Sharyl Attkisson; and former Ben Carson campaign manager Armstrong Williams)".

In a follow-up tweet on Tuesday morning, he added, "The Fake News Networks, those that knowingly have a sick and biased AGENDA, are anxious about the competition and quality of Sinclair Broadcast".

The spots attracted relatively little controversy when they first aired last week.

That led Oliver to return to Sinclair on Sunday. But we are human, and sometimes our reporting might fall short.

Another late-night comic, Jimmy Kimmel, tweeted a link to the Deadspin video and commented, "This is extremely unsafe to our democracy" - an ironic echo of a line from Sinclair's promotional script and one that Burke repeated in his video. CNN also detailed the must-run segments earlier in March.

The controversy comes at a critical time for Sinclair. And the company is looking to expand its influence into more markets with a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media.

However, it's even more unsafe for Sinclair to criticize one sided, biases reporting as a way to push its own agenda. The deal still requires the approval of federal regulators. Given how common such "must-run" segments are at Sinclair member stations, they said, none of the reporters were at all shocked by the most recent developments.

Sinclair, already the biggest TV news broadcaster in the USA, has 193 television stations and a deal to acquire an additional 42 from Tribune Media, which owns outlets KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in NY and WGN in Chicago.

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