Sinclair Broadcast Group Under Fire For 'Pro-Trump' Promo Videos

06 April, 2018, 21:37 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Sinclair's new media-bashing promos rankle local anchors

Last year, Sinclair announced that it would buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion.

Journalists in local markets are chafing at the company's requirements, including a new promotional campaign that echoes President Donald Trump's anti-media rhetoric.

Deadspin shared a 98-second video on Saturday that showed dozens of news anchors reading the same script about "fake stories" and "the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing the country".

During the 2016 election, the Trump team struck a deal with Sinclair for exclusive access because the media giant, according to Jared Kushner, had a better reach than CNN.

A person in Sinclair management confirmed that tensions are on the rise.

The company has a history of cutting staffs and shaving costs by requiring stations to share news coverage, in that way reducing unique local content.

The video's repetition illustrates Sinclair's reach in a way mere numbers can't, said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of NY.


Sinclair Broadcast Group has been the subject of widespread ridicule for forcing its local TV news anchors to read a script decrying "fake stories" and "false news". "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke". That deal is now awaiting government approval.

I've written quite a few data-driven stories tracking conservative media, but it's been hard to track Sinclair because it owns hundreds of local stations. Employees at Sinclair-owned stations often lack the support and protection of a union, so they lose their job if they don't tow the line and owe the station a massive chunk of their salary if they try to leave.

The employees said they felt they needed to speak anonymously because they were anxious they could lose their jobs if identified.

"I don't think it's good for free press". Basically, what they're doing is presenting Fox News-level bias disguised as impartial local reporting. I'm not opposed to news programs that come with a clear opinion.

The promos started airing in late March. The Broadcast segment consists of its broadcast television stations.

Ajit Pai, Trump's pick to chair the FCC, has already rolled back broadcast TV station ownership limits that would have prevented the merger. "I don't say that to scare you by any means but I do say this so you understand how serious SBG is about this project". (NASDAQ:SBGI). Ellington Group Incorporated Ltd Com has 0.06% invested in Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

For WJAC 6 News in Johnstown, general manager Jim Doty declined to comment and referred questions to Sinclair's corporate office. It identified a Monmouth University poll on the public's media trust as the impetus for the promo, and said that the promo "served no political agenda, and represented nothing more than an effort to differentiate our award-winning news programming from other, less reliable sources of information". Internal documents called the campaign an "anchor-delivered journalistic responsibility message".

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