Monday, 23 April, 2018

Find out if your local station is one of them

Deadspin  Twitter Deadspin Twitter
Ginger Lopez | 07 April, 2018, 00:56

Progressive consumer watchdog group Allied Progress is trying to place a six-figure ad buy on Sinclair Broadcasting stations across the country - to run anti-Sinclair ads suggesting the huge "local" news giant is "extremely risky to our democracy".

"This is extremely unsafe to our democracy", late night host Jimmy Kimmel tweeted Sunday.

Over the weekend, a video montage of Sinclair Broadcast Group anchors from across the country, all reciting the same scripted anti-media message on camera, went viral.

But Sinclair chairman David D. Smith lashed out at critics, defending his company's decision to promote its message throughout the stations it owns and argued that other cable networks often do the same thing.

Sinclair, based outside Baltimore, began airing the promotional campaign last week during newscasts on its stations across the country.




Several news outlets have reported on the promotions and President Trump took some of those to task on Twitter Monday, . The Guardian reports it is considered "the new Breitbart" and is used by White House sources to leak stories favorable to President Trump. Researchers Gregory Martin and Josh McCrain recently published a paper that showed Sinclair-owned stations focused more on national news, which tends to be more politically charged. Co-host Mika Brzezinski said she was surprised some of the local anchors didn't refuse to read it.

Sinclair has been accused of using its media influence to convince the Trump administration to ease regulations on the group ownership of television stations.

So how does the business of Sinclair Broadcast Group mix with its politics? And the company is looking to expand its influence into more markets with a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media. John Oliver discussed this on his show Last Week Tonight months ago, and commented on it today as it has resurfaced since the Deadspin post, calling the group a "brainwashed cult".

The company's conservative-leaning politics have come down to Sinclair's stations through "must runs" - stories local producers are told to air during their newscasts.

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 promotions, highlighted by the websites Deadspin and Think Progress, led to concern on social media about how the company wields power over its news broadcasts. Some told the outlet they believe the promos are "inappropriate", and one felt "uncomfortable" recording them. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC". The agreement gave Sinclair greater access to Trump and his campaign in exchange for running interviews without commentary, according to Politico.

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