#TrumpTV: Sinclair Broadcasting 'an Unofficial Propaganda Outlet' For Trump

07 April, 2018, 00:57 | Author: Rachel Mcdaniel
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group owns over 200 local news stations across the United States including WGN

Last week, Deadspin dropped a chilling viral video of almost 200 local news stations and affiliates owned or operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group from across the United States reciting identical speeches warning their audiences of "fake news", and sounding an very bad lot like Trump propaganda.

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". "Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias".

Deadspin's video stops at a line that it repeats again and again, to drive home the video's critical message: "This is extremely risky to our democracy".

Over the weekend, Deadspin released a video showing dozens of Sinclair anchors reading the same script during their newscasts.

It was the latest show of the vast reach of a company that owns local TV stations across the country and has always been criticized for pushing conservative coverage and commentary onto local airwaves.

Trump tweeted Monday that it was amusing to watch "Fake News Networks" criticizing Sinclair for being biased. The company owns ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox outlets, and the Sinclair branding is not always clear.

Instead, President Trump has ignored the threat of actual fake news and appropriated the term as a means to dismiss unfavorable coverage of himself.

Last month, CNN obtained an internal Sinclair memo that instructed its broadcast newsrooms air an "anchor-delivered journalistic responsibility message". "Just no credibility", said David Smith, Sinclair's executive to NY magazine in a piece published Tuesday.

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Instead of the federal law that states that no broadcaster can surpass more than 39 percent of households, Pai created a loophole that would allow Sinclair Broadcasting to reach more of the American public, while still staying below the threshold.

Sinclair, the country's largest conglomerate of local TV news outlets, made the mouthful of a defense in an internal memo penned by vice president of news Scott Livingston.

We went through Sinclair's list of stations and found all of those affiliated with a major network or designated under its own call letters. The compilation gained traction, even being featured on late night show "Last Week Tonight" by host John Oliver, who also hosted a section about Sinclair in 2017.

Last spring, reporting on the company's ambitions, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik wrote, "If history is any guide".

Several journalists have told CNN's Brian Stelter that they are against the video promos, but Stelter noted that so far no one has actively fought against it.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., expressed his concerns in a letter to Smith.

Democrats have also chided FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump-appointed Republican, for supporting TV ownership rule changes that would make it easier for the merger to pass regulatory scrutiny.

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