Here are 66 local news stations airing Sinclair’s brainwashing anti-media promo
The promotional videos have aired in 29 states and Washington, D.C.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is mandating that its local news anchors across the country narrate “hostage video”-like segments echoing President Donald Trump’s attacks on the press. Media Matters has compiled these propaganda videos from 66 different local news stations in 29 states and Washington, D.C.
In March, CNN’s Brian Stelter obtained internal documents sent to Sinclair Broadcast Group’s local TV news stations requiring them to film and air short promotional segments decrying “biased and false news” and accusing unnamed mainstream media figures of bias. The script, obtained by CNN, focuses on the mainstream press, attacking unspecified “national media outlets” for publishing “fake stories.” At points, the script appears to echo President Donald Trump's attacks on press with cries of “fake news.” (Though the final version of the script, as NPR noted in an interview with a Sinclair executive about the promotional spots, no longer included “the word national ... coupled to the word media.”)
The ads began airing on March 23. Days later, Deadspin’s Timothy Burke edited many of the similar segments into an eerie viral video that makes Sinclair’s propagandistic intentions all too clear.
How America's largest local TV owner turned its news anchors into soldiers in Trump's war on the media: https://t.co/iLVtKRQycL pic.twitter.com/dMdSGellH3
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
Widespread coverage of the segments culminated this morning when cable news programs discussed the videos, likely leading to Trump himself tweeting a defense of Sinclair:
So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
These segments are Sinclair’s latest attempt to sneak pro-Trump and anti-journalism messaging into local media outlets. The media company’s chief political analyst, former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, routinely echoes his former boss in attacking mainstream media outlets that he believes are too critical of the president. And in a segment that aired across Sinclair news stations last March, Sinclair’s vice president for news, Scott Livingston, read from a virtually identical promotional script.
Sinclair is now well-known for its history of abusing public trust to air right-wing spin and promote xenophobia on local news shows. The company is also currently awaiting federal approval to finalize a massive acquisition that will help it spread its conservative propaganda further across the country.
Here is a full transcript from one of the segments (there are slight variations among the videos):
Hi, I’m [name] with [station]. Our greatest responsibility is to serve our communities. I am extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [station] produces, but I’m 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. More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories without checking facts first. 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 our democracy.
At [station], it is our responsibility to report and pursue the truth. We understand the truth is neither politically left nor right. Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility now more than ever. But we are human, and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair, please reach out through our [station] website by clicking on “Content Concerns.” We value your comments and we will respond back to you.
We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced, and factual. We consider it our honor and privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day. Thank you for watching, and we appreciate your feedback.
A Media Matters search of the iQ media database found that between March 23 and April 1, at least 66 Sinclair stations reaching 29 states and Washington, D.C. ran their own versions of the scripted segment. Some of these stations have run the segment more than 10 times in the last week. Below is a list, with videos, of all 66 stations.
WABM (ABC 33/40) in Birmingham, AL:
KBAK in Bakersfield, CA:
KBFX (Fox 58) in Bakersfield, CA:
KMPH (Fox 26) in Fresno, CA:
WJLA (ABC 7) in Washington, D.C.:
WEAR (ABC 3) in Pensacola, FL:
WPEC (CBS 12) in West Palm Beach, FL:
WGXA (Fox 24/ABC 13) in Macon, GA:
WTGS (Fox 28) in Savannah, GA:
KGAN (CBS 2) in Cedar Rapids, IA:
KFXA (Fox 28) in Cedar Rapids, IA:
KPTH (Fox 44) in Sioux City, IA:
KBOI (2 News) in Boise, ID:
KHQA in Quincy, IL:
WSBT 22 in South Bend, IN:
WBFF (Fox 45) in Baltimore, MD:
WGME (CBS 13) in Portland, ME:
WPFO (Fox 23) in Portland, ME:
WSMH (Fox 66) in Flint, MI:
WWMT (Newschannel 3) in Kalamazoo, MI:
WPBN (7&4 News) in Traverse City, MI:
KTVO (ABC 3) in Kirksville, MO:
KRCG 13 in New Bloomfield, MO:
WLOS (ABC 13) in Asheville, NC:
KFXL (Fox Nebraska) in Lincoln, NE:
KSNV (News 3) in Las Vegas, NV:
KRXI (Fox 11) in Reno, NV:
WRGB (CBS 6) in Albany, NY:
WUHF (13 WHAM, Fox) in Rochester, NY:
WTVH (CBS 5) in Syracuse, NY:
WSTM (NBC 3) in Syracuse, NY:
WSTR (Star64) in Cincinnati, OH:
WKRC (Local 12) in Cincinnati, OH:
WSYX (ABC 6) in Columbus, OH:
WTTE (Fox 28) in Columbus, OH:
WKEF (Fox 45) in Dayton, OH:
WTOV (News 9) in Steubenville, OH:
WNWO (NBC 24) in Toledo, OH:
KOKH (Fox 25) in Oklahoma City, OK:
KTUL (ABC 8) in Tulsa, OK:
KVAL (CBS 13) in Eugene, OR:
KMTR (NBC 16) in Eugene, OR:
KTVL (News 10) in Medford, OR:
KATU (ABC 2) in Portland, OR:
WHP (CBS 21) in Harrisburg, PA:
WJAC (NBC 6) in Johnstown, PA:
WOLF (Fox 56) in Wilkes-Barre, PA:
WCIV (ABC News 4) in Charleston, SC:
WACH (Fox 57) in Columbia, SC:
WPDE (ABC 15) in Myrtle Beach, SC:
WTVC (ABC 9) in Chattanooga, TN:
KVII (ABC 7) in Amarillo, TX:
KEYE (CBS Austin) in Austin, TX:
KBTV (Fox 4) in Beaumont, TX:
KFDM (6 News) in Beaumont, TX:
KDBC (CBS 4) in El Paso, TX:
KFOX (Fox 14) in El Paso, TX:
KGBT (CBS 4) in Harlingen, TX:
WOAI (News 4) in San Antonio, TX:
KABB (Fox 29) in San Antonio, TX:
KUTV (2 News) in Salt Lake City, UT:
WSET (News 13) in Lynchburg, VA:
KOMO in Seattle, WA:
KIMA (Action News) in Yakima, WA:
WLUK (Fox 11) in Green Bay, WI:
WCHS (ABC 8) in Charleston, WV: