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Sinclair Reporter To Trump: Attacking Independent Media Is Not Funny
04 April 2018, 01:34 | Tara Lloyd
Deadspin CBS 4 Valley Central
The Sinclair Broadcast Group is forcing its news anchors to read a script warning viewers of the fake and partisan news now infiltrating journalism. Some outlets publish these "fake stories" without checking facts first and some people in the media push their own biases, the statement said. But its lead has dwindled in recent years at 11 p.m., which could have been caused by a variety of factors other than Sinclair's ownership. It also questioned the motivation behind criticism of the segments.
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". The president singled out CNN and NBC.
Sinclair, which owns 173 TV stations and is seeking to buy 42 more, has a long history of supporting conservative political candidates and courting criticism by using the newscasts of its many stations to boost them.
Another late-night comic, Jimmy Kimmel, tweeted a link to the Deadspin video and commented, "This is extremely risky to our democracy" - an ironic echo of a line from Sinclair's promotional script and one that Burke repeated in his video.
However, it's even more unsafe for Sinclair to criticize one sided, biases reporting as a way to push its own agenda. Sinclair-owned stations around the USA have been repeating it on air while Sinclair seeks the Trump administration's approval of a proposed merger with Tribune Media Company.
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Sinclair's presence in local news is of interest especially because more people still get their news from local television stations than from any other source. "If the FCC allows this, there's nothing to stop [other companies] from getting bigger and editorializing on their local newscasts".
The anchors give no specific examples. "It illustrates a story that in some cases can read like a conspiracy theory". And Livingston, in his memo, didn't mention stories such as the discredited theory that a Democratic National Committee staffer named Seth Rich was murdered as payback for leaking politically embarrassing DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
Scott Livingston, Sinclair's senior vice president of news, said on Monday that the goal of the announcement was to "reiterate our commitment to reporting facts in a pursuit of truth". Trump's Federal Communications Commission is simultaneously facing an investigation into whether it has improperly favored Sinclair in the merger review.
CNNMoney first reported on the promos - and the tensions they were creating in Sinclair newsrooms - last month. 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. Legendary news anchor Dan Rather called it "propaganda". The headline was: "How America's Leading Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump's War On The Media".
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He also issued a clear and tough reminder that Washington will not deviate from the policy of using " a big stick ". Both nations also combined their hockey teams, and Pyongyang even sent its cheerleaders to support the joint team.