by TIM, viaThe Anti Media:
In recent days, millions of viewers across the country have been subjected not only to a statement concerning “fake news” eerily repeated verbatim by dozens of local Sinclair-owned television stations across the country, but also to reports uncovering the fact that those stations had been instructed to recite this statement.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) 31 March 2018
CNN’s Brian Stelter “broke” the news in early March, warning that a “promotional campaign that sounds like pro-Trump propaganda” would be hitting local TV stations. The statement reported by CNN was crafted by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the biggest owner of television stations in the United States. A Seattle Post Intelligencer report provided the script that had been given to KOMO News, which is owned by Sinclair:
“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”
It’s well-known, especially at this point in time, that Sinclair explicitly leans conservative, and the corporation has faced criticism in the past for pro-Trump sentiments woven into their broadcasting. With several reports pushed by multiple outlets (sound familiar?) tying Sinclair to Trump, Americans are being served an implication that Trump is now pulling the strings in newsrooms all over the United States.
However, this parroting of news material is not new, and is not exclusive to Trump or Sinclair. For years, smaller media outlets have pointed out the peculiarity of local news stories sounding awfully familiar across the U.S. Among the most popular illustrations of this practice is a segment called “Media Reacts” from Late Night With Conan O’Brien, in which O’Brien pokes fun at the identical media messaging from local news stations. Note that a handful of stations in this clip is owned by Sinclair, but there are plenty of stations in these clips that are not; some are owned by Nexstar Media Group, Tegna, Heartland Media, Tribune and Raycom Media.