Sinclair Broadcast Group shoots self in foot

Screenshot from the Deadspin mashup

You might have heard this weekend that Sinclair Broadcast Group required all of its local news anchors to read a script about biased and fake news. That meant almost 200 tv stations across the country issued the same statement.

I finally got curious this morning about what the script said and found the following transcript at SeattlePi:

“Hi, I’m (A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.

(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.

(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback”

While I don’t find that nearly as odious as many headlines have indicated, I do think the line “Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think'” smacks of the pot calling the kettle black.

It’s not so much the content of the statement that disturbs me as the fact that Sinclair headquarters wrote it and demanded that all its (supposedly independent) local stations read it. It seems even more disturbing when you view Deadspin’s video mashup of dozens of news anchors obediently parroting the same thing.

 

Note, April 5, 2018: An article in the New York Times yesterday said such scripts are known in the industry as “must-runs.”

Note, April 6, 2018: “Sinclair Broadcast Group owns local news stations across the US — find out whether your local station is one of them”



Categories: Media

20 replies

  1. By the end of that mashup, the word “democracy” just sounded really wrong. Our local station reportedly is in the mashup, but I’ve only watched it once and don’t feel like watching it again yet to pick them out.
    I really feel for those people who are having to do this to keep their lights on. Local broadcasting and newspaper jobs don’t pay a whole lot, and they’re rarer than they once were, which for some means having to get completely out of the business rather than find the same job elsewhere.

  2. They wouldn’t be tied up with that ex Australian now United States citizen, or is he British at the moment, whatever suits Mr rupert murdock; and POTUS aka donald chump, with his ‘false news; by any chance.

    Trouble is too many Americans watch these brainwashed/braindead ‘anchors’; and believe them.

    Noticed you’re now using your name instead of the PiedType, a change is good as a holiday or just giving Pied a rest?

    • Sinclair Broadcast Group is very supportive of Donald Trump, although that wasn’t my focus in this post. I’d condemn any group that did something like this.

      Yes, I’m experimenting with posting my name or maybe initials or something, since my name isn’t Pied Type, but I’m not sure how many people ever read the About page to see what my name really is. Ideally I’d like to delete the entire byline, since I write every post, and leave just the date. But the designer told me that isn’t possible. It’s all or nothing. And I think having that dateline at the top is very important.

  3. If only the statement could just be taken at it’s face value.

    • It’s not so much what says, on its face, but the fact that more than 200 stations across the country were required to read it on air.

      • I guess I’m in the minority believing that’s no big deal. Employers frequently require employees to do such things as this.

        • This is not the same as, say, a McDonald’s manager telling employees they have wear uniforms.

          I’m curious if any of the 200+ stations prefaced their broadcast with a disclaimer along the lines of “the following is a statement from Sinclair Broadcast Group and does not necessarily represent this station’s position” or something similar. What it shows is that Sinclair stations, just like those they criticize, will say what they are told to say in lieu of, perhaps, the objective truth. To wit, “Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.”

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“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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