Sinclair Chairman Responds to Criticism of Controversial Promos

  • Sinclair Chairman Responds to Criticism of Controversial Promos

Sinclair Chairman Responds to Criticism of Controversial Promos

Deadspin offered the world a nugget of truth Saturday after showing the Sinclair Broadcast Group's ability to push right-wing messages to audiences of its local news stations.

The recent segments, which also warned against "one-sided news stories plaguing our country", have sparked controversy. "The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media", the script reads. The company requires its stations to air conservative commentary, but this time it was different: The news anchors, not outside pundits, had to do the commentary. Why is this so risky you ask?

Sinclair owns KATV and has been in the process of acquiring KFSM-Fort Smith, KXNW-Eureka Springs and WREG-Memphis in a deal to purchase Tribune Media holdings. "We've asked people to voice their opposition to Sinclair's plan to merge with Tribune Media, which has yet to be approved".

These segments, including the anti-fake news promo, are supposed to run frequently during news time, according to CNN.

In Boise, anchors Natalie Hurst and Brent Hunsaker read the script, which Deadspin included in its article.

Last month, Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. was called out for mandating that its local stations take on a scripted promotional campaign. Watch Oliver nimbly parse the Sinclair issue in the clip below, which may have been the final straw that led to a Trump tweet on Monday morning.

Sinclair drew sharp criticism across the Internet for the shameless move, with some even calling to boycott its stations.

President Donald Trump came to Sinclair's defense in a pair of tweets, one of which said: "The Fake News Networks, those that knowingly have a sick and biased AGENDA, are anxious about the competition and quality of Sinclair Broadcast".

He was incredulous at the criticism Sinclair was receiving and called out other networks for even more widespread use of scripts and mandated messaging. Abetting him in that endeavor is Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Trump-friendly telecom company with direct ties to the White House. Others, including President Donald Trump, have defended Sinclair and the monologue.

In December, Sinclair was fined $13.4 million by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for running more than 1,700 paid commercials for the Huntsman Cancer Institute, which were meant to look like news broadcasts. "Shamefully, and in direct violation of the court's orders, no proper evaluation has occurred", said Free Press Deputy Director and Senior Counsel Jessica J. González in a statement. Sinclair Broadcast Group had a net margin of 21.07% and a return on equity of 22.76%.

Sinclair again has shown how corporate control of local news can be risky for democracy. The new version, however, uses local anchors who are familiar to viewers and may have greater cachet and credibility.