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Sinclair's forced script reveals the corrupt hypocrisy of its motives

04 April 2018

"Local news stations now required by Sinclair Broadcasting to parrot the talking points of the President, moving America one step closer to its own version of state run media".

Sinclair, already the biggest TV news broadcaster in the US, has 193 television stations and a deal to acquire an additional 42 from Tribune Media, which owns outlets KTLA in Los Angeles, WPIX in NY and WGN in Chicago.

CNN showed part of a video montage posted over the weekend by the Deadspin website that showed dozens of Sinclair news readers warning about false news and saying "this is extremely risky to our democracy". The promos describe a "troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories" and claim that "national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first".

"This is extremely unsafe to our democracy", anchors say over and over in the Deadspin edit. But it's not just that one anchor; it is dozens across the country, all working for Sinclair Broadcast Group, all literally reading off the same script.

A new promo campaign from the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group is raising concerns about the message the company is promoting through the 173 local stations it owns or operates. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke", Trump tweeted.

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"I was a broadcast journalist for 32 years, and I see this Sinclair move as an effort to discredit all news media except Sinclair", Gardner told the Statesman. Co-host Mika Brzezinski said she was surprised some of the local anchors didn't refuse to read it.

Another late-night comic, Jimmy Kimmel, tweeted a link to the Deadspin video and commented, "This is extremely risky to our democracy" - an ironic echo of a line from Sinclair's promotional script and one that Burke repeated in his video.

Fischer said television news anchors and reporters at WJAR and other stations are afraid to speak out, and their contracts give the union little power to protect them if they do.

This national message from Sinclair comes as regulators are considering whether to approve its almost $4 billion deal to acquire Tribune Media Co. The company owns ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox outlets, and the Sinclair branding is not always clear.

WOAI's Randy Beamer was one of the Sinclair news anchors who read a statement eerily in lockstep with President Trump's "fake news" rhetoric. Oliver tore into the company on Sunday night.

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"The net result of the company's current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they'd chosen as a life vocation".

Sinclair Broadcasting owns more than 190 stations nationwide, and is awaiting government approval to buy even more, expanding their reach from 40 percent to over 70 percent of the nation's households.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would need to approve the merger proposal, determining if it adhered to antitrust laws. Local viewers would have no idea that the message came not form local stations but from Sinclair.

"Sinclair proposed the merger after the FCC voted 3 to 2 in April of previous year to reintroduce a policy on how broadcasters" total percentage of the national market is calculated, making it easier for companies to expand.

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Sinclair's forced script reveals the corrupt hypocrisy of its motives