Conservative local media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group is mandating local news stations air a “must-run” commentary segment touting “due process” at the expense of accusers in the #MeToo movement just weeks after being named in a lawsuit alleging workplace sexual harassment at its digital media entity Circa.
A January 4 national “must-run” segment from former Sinclair executive Mark Hyman argued that while “sexual misconduct in any form, at any time, anywhere is never acceptable,” some protections for people who publicly report sexual misconduct are not appropriate. Hyman specifically begged, “Let’s not automatically grant anonymity to every accuser,” warning that doing so “could lead to false allegations used as weapons for any number of reasons.” Hyman failed to note the very real dangers people face when they come forward.
On December 20, 2017, The Baltimore Sun reported that Sinclair and its digital media arm, Circa, had been named in a lawsuit alleging workplace sexual harassment experienced by three former Circa employees. The lawsuit was not mentioned in Hyman’s website post about the “must-run” segment.
Sinclair is known for its history of injecting right-wing spin into local newscasts, most notably with these nationally produced “must-run” commentary segments. The segments, which all Sinclair-owned and operated news stations are required to air, have included rants about “politically correct” culture from Hyman for some time, as well as blatant (and sometimes embarrassing) pro-Trump propaganda missives from former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn and “Terrorism Alert Desk” segments seemingly focused on whatever Muslims do.
Sinclair’s pending acquisition of Tribune Media, if approved by Trump’s Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice, would allow it to force-feed conservative commentary segments like these to more local news audiences in battleground states and major cities ahead of the likely re-election campaign of reported serial sexual harasser President Donald Trump in 2020.