Sinclair Broadcast Group, based in Hunt Valley, Md, which owns, among many outlets, WJLA and NewsChannel8 in the D.C. area; and WBFF, WNUV and WUTB in Baltimore, is in the spotlight because of content its stations are told to run.
A number of media outlets reported on the video above, including The New York Times:
“On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers.
“It included a warning about fake news, a promise to report fairly and accurately and a request that viewers go to the station’s website and comment “if you believe our coverage is unfair.”
“It may not have seemed strange until viewers began to notice that the newscasters from Seattle to Phoenix to Washington sounded very similar. Stitched-together videos on social media showed them eerily echoing the same lines:
““The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.”
““Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias.”
““This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
“The script came from Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest broadcaster, which owns or operates 193 television stations.
“Last week, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a copy of the speech and reported that employees at a local news station there, KOMO, were unhappy about the script. CNN reported on it on March 7 and said Scott Livingston, the senior vice president of news for Sinclair, had read almost the exact same speech for a segment that was distributed to outlets a year ago.
“A union that represents news anchors did not respond immediately to requests for comment on Sunday.
“Dave Twedell of the International Cinematographers Guild, who is a business representative for photojournalists (but not anchors) at KOMO in Seattle and KATU in Portland, Ore., said Sinclair told journalists at those stations not to discuss the company with outside news media.
“Although it is the country’s largest broadcaster, Sinclair is not a household name and viewers may be unaware of who owns their local news station. Critics have accused the company of using its stations to advance a mostly right-leaning agenda.
““We work very hard to be objective and fair and be in the middle,” Mr. Livingston told The New York Times last year. “I think maybe some other news organizations may be to the left of center, and we work very hard to be in the center.””
You can read the full New York Times story here.
According to a MediaPost report, “75 (Sinclair) TV stations have aired the promo, according to iQ Media, a real-time TV measurement company. Sinclair, which has 193 stations in 89 markets, is the largest owner of U.S. TV stations.
“The company says that from March 23 through April 03, the full statement — in which local TV anchors appear in TV promos — has been read 625 times. The 75 TV stations are in 62 markets.
“Sinclair has 59 Fox-affiliated TV stations, which include 41 for ABC; 30 for CBS; 25 for NBC; 47 for The CW; and 40 for MyNetworkTV. Reports say the promo has been labelled “must-run.””
Finally, a Sinclair Broadcasting senior executive “is pushing back at critics of an ad campaign who accused the company of pushing pro-Trump propaganda, stating the promos were “focused on fact-based reporting” and showed the company’s “commitment to our communities.”” reports The Hill, which added that Sinclair’s “critics are now upset about our well-researched journalistic initiative focused on fair and objective reporting,” Scott Livingston, senior vice president of news, wrote in an internal memo on Monday that was obtained by CNN.
“”For the record, the stories we are referencing in this campaign are the unsubstantiated ones (i.e. fake/false) like ‘Pope Endorses Trump’ which move quickly across social media and result in an ill-informed public. Some other false stories, like the false ‘Pizzagate’ story, can result in dangerous consequences.”
“”We are focused on fact-based reporting,” he added in the memo to employees. “That’s our commitment to our communities.””
(Photo: New York Times)