A segment of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson promoted the idea that vigilantes -- residents blockading their neighborhoods and patrolling at night with guns -- are “needed” in cities seeing protests against police brutality. The segment did not explore whether such roadblocks are illegal and made no mention that a gunman who claimed to be protecting local businesses during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, engaged in vigilante violence and killed two people.
This segment on Full Measure began airing September 12, during the first episode of the new season. According to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database, the episode was shown on at least 96 Sinclair-owned or -operated stations in 41 states and Washington, D.C. -- including in Wisconsin, where the vigilante gunman allegedly murdered two people and severely wounded a third during the protests against the August 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake. The show’s verified Twitter and Facebook accounts promoted the segment with claims that some cities are “on the edge of a race war not seen since the sixties.” On the Full Measure website, the online post of the segment also used the exact same language in its introduction.
This summer, American cities erupted in violence and riots, some on the edge of a race war not seen since the sixties. Sunday on Full Measure, we went to Minneapolis to see how people and police are reacting. #Minneapolisprotests
Posted by Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson on Friday, September 11, 2020
The segment was titled “Law and Disorder” and examined the state of Minneapolis months after protests began there over the police killing of George Floyd on May 25; it included interviews of local residents about their safety concerns. The first part featured Sinclair chief political correspondent Scott Thuman interviewing two Minneapolis residents who have been blockading their neighborhoods at night and patrolling with guns since May. Later in the segment, after interviewing a third man who was hired to protect a grocery store, Thuman said such measures are “needed.”
However, both Thuman and Attkisson failed to mention the Kenosha shootings and that the 17-year-old who has been charged with homicide also claimed to be protecting businesses during the protests.
Vigilantes have been taking similar actions in Oregon amid widespread wildfires, setting up armed roadblocks. But police there have pointed out that such roadblocks are illegal. Yet the Full Measure segment failed to explore whether the vigilante measures it is promoting as “needed” are illegal.
Sinclair has aired problematic coverage of vigilante incidents before. At least five segments by Sinclair national correspondents covering the Kenosha protests failed to mention that a right-wing gunman had allegedly killed two people -- even though all of them aired days after the killings occurred.