Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

Sinclair Anchor Says Scripted Message Was 'Awful,' Company Chairman Responds to Backlash

Sinclair Anchor Says Scripted Message Was 'Awful,' Company Chairman Responds to Backlash

The Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest local TV owner is under fire for using it's news anchors as weapons in Trump's ongoing battle against the "fake news networks" by using them to regurgitate a promo full of Trumplike talking points.

Earlier this year, news broke that Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned televisions stations were requiring anchors to take on "fake news", a move many felt was pushing a pro-Trump agenda.

Sinclair Broadcast Group now owns more than 190 TV stations in the United States, and is trying to own even more through proposing to purchase Tribune Media.

The video, from Deadspin's Timothy Burke, shows local anchors around the country reciting the same scripted lines that Sinclair provided.

Sinclair's pending purchase of Tribune would allow it to reach 72 percent of TV-owning households in the US.

Trump tweeted that "The Fake News Networks, those that knowingly have a sick and biased AGENDA, are anxious about the competition and quality of Sinclair Broadcast".

"Sinclair's employee handbook.states that the company 'may monitor, intercept, and review, without further notice, every employee's activities using company's electronic resources and communications systems, '" the Huffington Post reported.

Critics have said that the message echoes sentiments from President Donald Trump, who has often bashed the news media.

Deadspin assembled a montage of Sinclair anchors around the USA reading a promo that echoed President Trump's critique of the news media.

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An all-newsroom email from one station news director read: "Let me be absolutely clear here..."

Sinclair owns close to 200 television stations in 39 states. Sittenfeld tweeted that he will no longer watch local Channel 12 after seeing the local anchors - and others across the country - reading the same script.

In exchange, Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said.

The tweeted support comes as Sinclair awaits governmental approval to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion.

John Oliver also drew attention to the Sinclair spots Sunday night on his HBO show Last Week Tonight, calling them "propaganda".

Journalists at Sinclair stations have been forced to run right-leaning segments for years. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC". "At my station, everyone was uncomfortable doing it", one anchor told CNN.

Ultimately, how can a press remain free and objective when those who are put in control of it are most interested in profit and advancing a political agenda?

The Democratic lawmakers also noted that Trump reportedly discussed potential FCC rule changes in a meeting with Sinclair's executive chairman and said that Pai or his staff "have met with Sinclair representatives on numerous occasions".

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