If the apocryphal quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” is true, then Sinclair Broadcasting Group is on the verge of an epic win.
Sinclair is a media conglomerate that owns over 170 television stations across the nation. They are in the process of buying Tribune Media, which owns 39 television station. What has the left up in arms over the purchase, and trying to get the FCC to kill the deal, is that it also owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel and The Baltimore Sun, and several commuter tabloids. The left could give a flying-you-know-what over what the proles watch on the tube but if you start talking about knuckledraggers infesting their pristine newsrooms, well, you got a fight on your hands, baby.
The point of attack was authored by Mister Potato-Head, himself, CNN’s Brian Stelter. (This would be the same media critic who admitted that he didn’t interrupt David Hogg to correct his bizarre and disconnected-from-reality statement on gun laws.) This issue is a must-read promo that all Sinclair-employed news anchors must record:
“This is so manipulative.”
That’s an anchor at a local TV station owned by Sinclair, describing the company’s latest mandate, a promotional campaign that sounds like pro-Trump propaganda.
Internal documents call the new initiative an “anchor delivered journalistic responsibility message.”
But the staffers who shared the documents with CNN say the promos are inappropriate — yet another corporate infringement on local journalism.
“At my station, everyone was uncomfortable doing it,” a local anchor said. The person insisted on anonymity because they believed they would be fired for speaking out.
Other local anchors also said the promos were a source of dismay in their newsrooms.
As scripted, the promos decry “fake stories” from national news outlets — echoing President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about “fake news.”
The promos are supposed to start airing on local stations later this month. The instructions sent to station news directors say that the 60- and 75-second spots should run frequently “to create maximum reach and frequency.”
The promo requirements are the latest reason why some Sinclair journalists are upset with the company’s Maryland-based management. In recent years Sinclair’s owners, the Smith family, have made several programming decisions that reflect a right-wing agenda.
What is so odious? This is the script:
Hi, I’m (A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that ## News produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At ## it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.
(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.
(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.
This is a mash-up of Sinclair hosts from across the nation using the promo.
Oddly enough, Infowars has joined the left on this
This is what fake news looks like. pic.twitter.com/qedn0Z1J4Z
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) April 1, 2018
Erick Erickson has a good perspective on this:
First, this happens across the country all the time. As Stephen Miller (not that one) noted on Twitter last night, Conan O’Brien has made a speciality out of covering this.
Second, there is a serious suspicion (and an accurate one) that Sinclair is pro-Trump and Sinclair is, in fact, engaged in many of the same behaviors these other networks engage in, but on the pro-Trump side. The media over all, convinced of its own righteousness, is calling out Sinclair for that and deservedly so.
Here is where I’d part company with Erick. If anyone thinks NBC, CBS, CNN doesn’t have an editorial bias, I’d encourage them to take a second look. The fact that Sinclair, late to the game, is doing what the other networks have done for decades does not merit calling out. They are simply doing what everyone else is and the fact that they support the president rather than employing Fusion GPS to write their copy and hire Jim Acosta to yodel questions from the press gallery doesn’t make what they are doing either wrong or ethically suspect.
Third, and most importantly, Sinclair is buying up local news channels around the country and this is in the run up to a merger that liberals and unions oppose. This outrage comes right as the merger is being finalized and there are agenda driven partisans doing everything they can to derail it.
And that is the bottom line. The concern isn’t about journalism or journalistic integrity. If that were the case Dan Rather and Brian Williams and [fill in a name here] from CNN would not be on the air.
I just heard the argument on CNN, which bills itself as "the most trusted name in news," that at least one problem with the Sinclair promo is that it implies other news sources are not as trustworthy as they are.
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) April 2, 2018
You've got ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, HBO, Comedy Central, Netflix, Hulu, the New York Times, WaPo, Newsweek, Time, HuffPo, BuzzFeed, Twitter, Facebook, all the movie studios… and it still isn't enough for you. https://t.co/ix4h7B8CVz
— I didn't vote for him, so think of a new retort (@jtLOL) April 2, 2018