Trump defends Sinclair Broadcast after Deadspin video

Aaron Brown
April 4, 2018

Sinclair, a conservative-leaning company and one of the country's largest owners of TV stations, has previously come under fire from federal regulators for failing to disclose paid programming.

What you just watched was dozens of local news anchors on networks owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group - the biggest owner of TV stations in the US. The president singled out CNN and NBC. Sinclair, the right-wing broadcasting behemoth, mandated that local anchors read the hokey speech, which echoes Donald Trump talking points. In the script, anchors around the country state that they are "concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible stories plaguing our country".

A transcript of the on-air advisory posted to Deadspin read in part, "The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media". The anchors then go on to say that many media outlets are publishing "fake stories" and pushing agendas. "More alarming, is some media outlets publish same fake stories without checking facts first". "This is extremely unsafe to our democracy".

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns some 173 television networks in the USA, and the message segments were repeated as frequently as possible, giving the management nearly blanket coverage in parts of America. Sinclair, which has a history of supporting conservative candidates, as a company has similar political views to those of Trump. But they began to gain attention, first on social media, after the website ThinkProgress assembled a video of anchors reading the script on Friday. Not wanting to see his work appropriated by someone else, Burke said he rushed to get the full video posted Saturday afternoon.

"Nothing says we value independent media like dozens of reporters forced to repeat the same message over and over again like members of a brainwashed cult", Oliver retorted in a segment about Sinclair.

The Deadspin video and its contents were reported or referenced on CNN, MSNBC on Monday.

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The controversy comes at a critical time for Sinclair.

Sinclair owns KATV and has been in the process of acquiring KFSM-Fort Smith and WREG-Memphis in a deal to purchase Tribune Media holdings.

However, it's even more unsafe for Sinclair to criticize one sided, biases reporting as a way to push its own agenda.

"Sinclair's probably the most risky company most people have never heard of", said Michael Copps, the chairman of Federal Communications Commission under George W. Bush. Sinclair could end up controlling over 230 local stations if the deal is approved. "It illustrates a story that in some cases can read like a conspiracy theory". And Livingston, in his memo, didn't mention stories such as the discredited theory that a Democratic National Committee staffer named Seth Rich was murdered as payback for leaking politically embarrassing DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

DIERKING: At Local 12, it's our responsibility to report and pursue the truth. (Nasdaq: SBGI) ("Sinclair") today responded to a series of media reports attacking the Company's recent promotional announcement for its local news.

One anchor, who declined to comment, instead pointed HuffPost to a Facebook post by Norma Holland, anchor of "Good Day Rochester" the morning news program broadcast by WHAM-13, a Sinclair affiliate in Rochester, New York. For example, a December 2016 story by Politico said that The Trump campaign "struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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