Local news audiences may have seen some familiar far-right faces on television recently, warning about a “deep state” trying to take down President Donald Trump.
That’s because Sinclair Broadcast Group — which owns 193 TV stations nationwide — has been requiring each of its channels to play “must-run” conservative commentary segments, as well as providing a new script to at least one Seattle news outlet in which anchors are forced to describe “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.”
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on a strange phenomena occurring at the local news station: anchors were all reading the same exact introductory statements about the network’s commitment to responsible journalism in an era of fake news.
“The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media,” the anchors said at the start of every program — which you can watch above. “More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.”
A team of Sinclair producers create the must-runs, which typically feature the company’s chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, a Russian-born former adviser to the president, and other conservatives from Trump world, including Sebastian Gorka, his former deputy assistant. One of the segments shown on the Seattle network’s 6 p.m. newscast featured Gorka decrying the “deep state,” a conspiracy theory about a secret network tasked with undermining Trump’s government.
Via The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
That segment was produced by Sinclair’s Kristine Frazao, who before coming to Sinclair was a reporter and anchor for the Russian-government funded news network RT, described as “the Kremlin’s propaganda outlet” by the Columbia Journalism Review.
The script goes on to describe members of the media using their platforms “to push their own personal bias and agenda” — an apparent slight toward non-Sinclair stations like CNN. Reporters at the network have been sharing the script with local papers and national outlets, including CNN, throughout the month of March, telling other journalists its the first time Sinclair has impacted their day-to-day operations.
“What they’re making the anchors say, we’re not feeling any of that in daily news decisions,” one employee told the Seattle paper, adding that the newsroom’s daily coverage still isn’t impacted by the network’s owners.
[image via screengrab]
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