Deadspin published a chilling video recently that showed dozens of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s TV anchors from local stations across the country reciting the same exact speech, a warning about “biased and false news.” Sinclair required its local anchors to record the promo spots denouncing fake news and accusing members of the media of trying to control “exactly what people think."
Which is not at all what Sinclair was doing by forcing it’s affiliates to read a prepared script to local viewers around the country, right?
Unfortunately this behavior isn’t new for the Sinclair crew. According to a former Sinclair News Director, they have been pulling these stunts for years. Some stations try to bury the mandatory pieces at odd hours or in between commercial breaks, but the fact remains, they have no choice but to run then.
“Sinclair forces those trusted local journalists to lend their credibility to shoddy reporting and commentary that, if it ran in other countries, we would rightly dismiss as state propaganda.”
Anchors and employees at a Seattle-owned Sinclair station protested the recent fake news segment, but they ultimately had to give up their integrity and run the piece. Quitting isn’t an option for many of the anchors due to their contracts. Breaking them could lead to large financial penalties, especially since some have clauses that would force them to pay back money spent putting their faces on billboards or other such marketing tactics. Plus, due to non competes, they can’t even jump to another station after parting ways.
Sinclair claims that they only wanted to warn viewers about the fake news crisis, and there was no political bias to the segment.
Except for the part where they pushed Trump’s untrustworthy media agenda...
The scariest bit is that Sinclair, right now, owns 190 stations and is attempting to add dozens more by purchasing Tribune Media. Sinclair has the power to effectively slant nearly all the local news Americans consume to a conservative, pro-Trump bent. In other words, turning local news stations into state approved propaganda machines.
The Deadspin video ends with the same line repeated over and over again, a line that should be heeded by anyone not already paying attention:
“This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
Read more about Sinclair’s stranglehold on local news stations, “Turmoil inside KOMO News as conservative owner Sinclair mandates talking points” written by Mike Rosenberg and posted by The Seattle Times on April 3, 2018 and "Confessions Of A Former Sinclair News Director" by Aaron Weiss for Huffington Post on April 2, 2018.