CNN’s Chris Cillizza Hits Sinclair for Making Reporters Air Anti-Media Segment: ‘A Dangerous Precedent’


CNN’s Chris Cillizza responded to the news that reporters at Sinclair Broadcasting Group owned local stations are being forced to repeat the same anti-media talking points by calling it a “dangerous precedent.”

The Sinclair controversy hit the news cycle after a montage of dozens of local TV anchors echoing Donald Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media went viral. While some have protested the new “fake stories” segment pushed by their conservative-leaning corporate overlords, many on Sinclair’s payroll are required to air the segment or risk losing their jobs.

Cillizza made this point while discussing the issue today with host Wolf Blitzer:

“I would remind people how big a deal local television anchors are news stations are… These are people that come into your home that are trusted every night… A large-scale media company, I should point out 170+ stations, demanding that anchors across all of those stations read a pre-prepared document — statement. Whatever that statement is should be a little bit concerning, particularly when it echoes what we know is one of Donald Trump’s hobby horses, which is, ‘the news is fake and people — there’s too much falsity out there.’ What’s false? What’s fake? Absolutely something local in national television should cover, but allegations and then repeating this word for word I think is somewhat dangerous.”

As for those saying Sinclair employed anchors should simply refuse to air the segment, Cillizza noted that they could “lose their job” and “lose their ability to pay their mortgages, or send their kid to college” if they were to buck authority in such a way.

“That’s why this is so insidious,” he added.

Blitzer jumped in to say that “it’s one thing if they personally believe in what they’re reading,” but if they are being forced to read the lines “to save their jobs” while being “personally disgusted,” then that leaves journalists “in a very, very precarious position.”

Cillizza concluded by explaining how important local news is to small communities that don’t have a national media market, as these figures they can hold “a lot of sway for people” in their area.

“Again, local TV anchors are always among the most trusted people in any community,” said Cillizza. “When you force them to say things like this, it’s a dangerous precedent.”

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma