VIDEO: WJAR Anchors Read Pro-Trump Sinclair Script About “Fake News”
Monday, April 02, 2018
GoLocalProv Business Team
|WJAR's Coletta reading the Sinclair "Pro-Trump" script|
In Providence, this carefully crafted message was read in the Rhode Island market by WJAR’s Frank Coletta and Alison Bologna. SEE VIDEO ABOVE
Sinclair, who owns 200 local stations across the country has close tied to the to Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
As reported in December of 2016, “Politico is reporting that Sinclair Broadcasting made a deal with the Trump campaign for better access. This is not the first time that WJAR's parent company has been tied to pushing a conservative agenda.
'Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks,” reported Politico, of remarks made by Trump's son-in-law, who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka."
The disclosure of Sinclair’s mandate scripting was first unveiled by CNN and the above video was created by Deadspin.
Here is how news organizations and media experts reacted to the disclosure of the "pro-Trump" Sinclair mandate.
“Over the last week or so, local television news anchors across the country have joined together to paradoxically warn viewers about the ‘troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.’ The identical, seemingly earnest editorial messages paid lip service to the importance of fact-checking and unbiased reporting, but they also complained about “false news” and “fake stories.” If that seems to echo the rhetoric of President Trump, it’s probably because the statement was written by one of his allies.”
"While Donald Trump spends so much time lying about the national press, it's easy to forget that there's also a longer-term conservative assault against local news stations. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which now owns more than 200 stations across the country, has been obligating anchors to run news segments and opinions pieces designed to push far-right agendas. These segments are presented alongside real news (often forcing stations to cut local reporting), usually with no indication to viewers that what they're seeing wasn't produced by the station. The goal is to force propaganda on audiences that are choosing to not watch Fox News."
"As scripted, the promos decry "fake stories" from national news outlets -- echoing President Trump's inflammatory rhetoric about "fake news."
The promos are supposed to start airing on local stations later this month. The instructions sent to station news directors say that the 60- and 75-second spots should run frequently "to create maximum reach and frequency."
The promo requirements are the latest reason why some Sinclair journalists are upset with the company's Maryland-based management. In recent years Sinclair's owners, the Smith family, have made several programming decisions that reflect a right-wing agenda.
Most noticeably, pro-Trump commentaries by former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn have cut into local news time. Local journalists have also bristled at so-called "must run" packages about subjects that aren't relevant to local audiences -- but are hot-button stories for conservatives. The "Terrorism Alert Desk" is a regular segment about security threats around the world."
"After seeing the response to the Deadspin montage, I am thinking maybe “most reviled TV company in America” might be more apt."
Sinclair's Anchors and Reports across the country read the script
The script, as transcribed by ThinkProgress based on the KOMO (Seattle) version, reads:
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.
Prior to the disclosure of this Sinclair edict to its station’s news staffs, Bob Whitcomb, former editor of the editorial page at the Providence Journal and now a columnist for GoLocal, wrote in February:
The TV station chain Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has polluted its stations with political propaganda, a few weeks ago gave each of its employees a highly publicized $1,000 bonus and thanked Trump for signing the tax law, which mostly benefits companies (which doesn’t bother me in itself) and rich folks. Now the company is pressuring its employees (including its journalists) to donate to the Sinclair Political Action Group, which supports Trump and other Republican politicians.
It used to be that news-media employees were discouraged from giving to politicians lest they appear to be overly biased. But in the much more corrupt political world following the Citizens United case, of 2010, such scruples are disappearing fast. It would be nice if viewers of, and advertisers on, Providence’s WJAR (Channel 10) boycotted the station, which used to be well-respected and still has some good people, though it’s hard to understand how any self-respecting journalist would want to work there.