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Radio News: Sinclair forces local stations to air political promotional ad

Mar 08, 2018 10:50 pm
Brian Stelter reports for CNN that Sinclair Broadcasting continues to infect the local news programs of its stations with its conservative bent. Sinclair already owns the most local stations around the country -- more if a merger with Tribune Media is allowed -- including a CBS and CW station in Albany, New York. Sinclair is now forcing local news anchors to record the following promotional text: "The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media," the script says. "More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control 'exactly what people think' ... This is extremely dangerous to our democracy." Sinclair stations are already forced to cut their local news time to air pro-Trump commentaries by former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, and these promotional ads are also supposed to cut into time set aside for news, not commercials. CNN quotes one local anchor about the promos. "At my station, everyone was uncomfortable doing it," the local anchor said insistin on anonymity. The CNN story also says, "The FCC is currently reviewing the Tribune deal. Sinclair critics -- Democratic lawmakers and some of the company's Republican rivals -- have alleged that the FCC has given Sinclair preferential treatment." Scott Livingston, the company's senior vice president of news, told CNN, "This promo addresses the troubling trend of false stories on social media [Livingston's emphasis], and distinguishes our trusted local stations as news destinations where we are committed to honest and accurate reporting. This promo reminds our viewers of this mission."