On July 26, multiple local TV stations owned or operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group asked their viewers the same “question of the day”: “Is the January 6 committee about partisan politics?” This wasn’t the first time many local stations aired the same question; Sinclair has apparently been providing “question of the day” prompts to its local TV stations for years.
Asking viewers to respond on their website or social media page can be a way for local news stations to get viewers engaged with topics related to their community. But at least some Sinclair-owned stations are instead airing such “question of the day” segments that are deliberately misleading or biased.
These Sinclair-owned stations are not creating these questions themselves -- they’re labeled on the Sinclair stations’ websites as coming from Sinclair Broadcast Group. And when the local anchors read a script for the Sinclair “question of the day” on the air, they seem to mislead their viewers by disguising it as a question from their station or omitting its origin with their corporate owner.
The July 26 “question of the day” was aired by at least 14 Sinclair stations broadcasting in 23 states, according to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database.
Such a question pushes the misleading Republican Party talking point that the House select committee to investigate the pro-Trump January 6 insurrection at the Capitol is “partisan,” without mentioning that GOP senators voted to block an evenly balanced bipartisan commission in May. Then in July, House Republicans sought to label the House select committee Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) formed in its place as a Democratic operation to discredit conservatives.
Republican leadership also tried to sabotage the committee by first appointing two high-profile election liars, and then withdrawing all GOP appointees when Pelosi rejected them. (The committee still has two Republican members who agreed to serve on it.) Republicans have continued to dismiss the committee as “partisan” even after its first hearing, which featured Capitol and Metropolitan police officers emotionally recounting their battle against Trump supporters who stormed the building.
The sobering news on August 2 that an additional two Washington, D.C., police officers who responded to the attack at the Capitol have since died by suicide should put into perspective how misleading and offensive this conservative characterization of the January 6 committee is.