Local broadcasters at stations owned by the Sinclair media group captured in a creepy montage -- repeating the exact same editorial message -- produced by Deadspin. Sinclair Broadcasting has been accused of using its reach to spread pro-Trump propaganda. pic.twitter.com/1MJGHuj6bT— AM Joy w/Joy Reid (@amjoyshow) April 2, 2018
A series of anchors working for local TV news outlets owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group are not too happy with their employer after a video compilation exposed the company of spreading anti-press "propaganda."
During their newscast, many anchors in different locations were all given the same script condemning mainstream news outlets for releasing “fake stories without checking the facts first.”
The script carried on, adding that these news outlets are “extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
So far, at least one producer has resigned in protest.
But while Sinclair anchors were told to say that these major platforms are trying to “push their own personal bias and agenda,” it was Sinclair that was later criticized for pushing pro-President Donald Trump propaganda.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin is calling on Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s Executive Chairman to explain his company’s policy regarding mandating content for local news stations. pic.twitter.com/ctQDhU0RD8— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 4, 2018
According to three different employees at Sinclair news stations who asked to remain anonymous, ever since the video compilation of anchors reading from the same script was published, they have been waiting to get an apology from their employer. After all, many of the anchors who had to read from the script have been getting hate mail and even threats.
But while executives did contact several anchors after the backlash, they never offered an official apology.
“Sinclair threw us under the bus, they used us as pawns,” one of the anchors told The Daily Beast.
Another added that even if an apology eventually materialized, it would be too late.
“The damage is done,” the anonymous anchor said.
While executives called the move to have anchors reading from the same script a “promotional campaign,” Sinclair’s senior vice president of news, Scott Livingston, said in an email sent to multiple stations that the company acknowledges that anchors have been facing personal backlash.
“I know the last 48 hours have been challenging in the wake of some of the reaction to our journalistic responsibility campaign,” the VP said. “Unfortunately, you are facing the brunt of the reaction on social media. That’s unfortunate. I know all of you did your best in executing this promo spot and I greatly appreciate your efforts.”
Still, Livingston failed to add an apology to his email. Instead, he concluded with: “I believe the message does reinforce our commitment to objective and fair reporting. It’s disheartening for this message to be distorted and politicized. We will be reaching out to answer any questions.”
“I wish I could tell them to go f*** themselves,” one of the anonymous on-air personalities told The Daily Beast.
Whether or not this was just a “promo,” as the company continues to claim, it’s clear that whatever they tried to accomplish was the exact opposite of what they got. The public, other news outlets, and even Sinclair's own employees feel embarrassed or angry the company would try to push this type of claim in an attempt to de-legitimize mainstream news organizations.
While criticizing news organizations for wrongly reporting the news or editorializing every now and then is important and part of what makes our society a free one, Sinclair Broadcasting Group crossed the line. And nobody is ready to ignore it or forget about it just yet.
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