Dear Commons Community,
The Sinclair Broadcast Group came under fire over the weekend after Deadspin released a video (above), which spliced together dozens of the company’s local affiliates reading from the same anti-“false news” script. According to the Associated Press, the company instituted a directive to its 170 U.S. TV stations that had forced their local news outlets to read this script decrying “false news.”
Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather blasted Sinclair:
“News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn’t journalism,” Rather tweeted on Monday. He went on to call the practice “Orwellian” and “propaganda.”
President Trump praised Sinclair yesterday morning after reports surfaced over the weekend that the company had ordered its broadcasters to recite a script criticizing other media outlets for “biased” news. Trump said it was “so funny to watch Fake News Networks … criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased.”
Mary Nam, an evening news anchor at a Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned station in Seattle criticized President Donald Trump’s defense of the conservative media company.
“Actually, this isn’t funny at all,” Mary Nam, who anchors the news at 4, 6 and 11 p.m. at TV station KOMO, tweeted in her response. “None of it.”
Then she turned to the question of Sinclair’s growing influence across the nation’s local news stations.
Sinclair already owns or operates 170 TV stations in the U.S. The company is in the process of purchasing Tribune Media, which would give it control over 42 more stations, thereby allowing it to reach 72 percent of TV households in America. Nam asked Trump if his administration was going to allow the purchase to go through.
While Nam made her dissatisfaction clear, other employees working at Sinclair-owned or -operated stations have voiced their frustration anonymously. CNN reported Monday that employees it spoke with felt Sinclair was pushing a political agenda on local TV audiences.
Sinclair, in turn, released a lengthy memo to its newsrooms across the country saying, “There is a lot of noise out there about our company right now, and what is lacking in that analysis is something we constantly preach: context and perspective.”
The memo, written by Sinclair Senior Vice President Scott Livingston, then lists a number of accomplishments by the group’s various newsrooms.
Dan Rather is correct that this is right out of Orwell where the dictatorship controls the news.