Two reports from Sinclair Broadcast Group national correspondent Kristine Frazao uncritically pushed the long-debunked Republican claim of “anti-conservative bias” on major social media platforms, airing both before and after Wednesday’s congressional hearing with major tech company CEOs. But a new study from Media Matters shows that in the week leading up to the hearing, right-leaning content earned almost half of all interactions on Facebook despite accounting for just a quarter of the posts studied.
Transcript searches from the Kinetiq video database show that Frazao’s first misleading report aired on at least 39 Sinclair-owned or -operated television stations in 31 states, and her second report aired on at least 32 stations in 28 states.
Frazao failed to include any information or commentary showing these claims from Republicans are false. Instead, she included quotes from Republicans making the accusation. In her first report, Frazao cited Twitter’s restriction of Donald Trump Jr.’s account for breaking its rules as an example of supposed bias. In the second report, Frazao aired without pushback Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) claim that “Big Tech is out to get conservatives. That’s not a suspicion, that’s not a hunch, that’s a fact.” The reality, as CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter said on Wednesday, is that “the claims about bias in tech platforms are anecdotal, not backed up by data or science. These are stories, not statistics.”
Media Matters’ studies consistently show that there is absolutely no evidence of anti-conservative bias on Facebook in particular. Right-wing sources dominate some politicized topics on Facebook, such as abortion and Black Lives Matter protests. On average, right-leaning Facebook pages consistently get more weekly interactions than left-leaning pages -- a trend that continued in the week leading up to Wednesday’s hearing.
But Republicans, and their conservative media allies such as Sinclair, repeatedly make these baseless accusations because they are effective, and President Donald Trump is especially receptive to these lies.
In the future, Sinclair’s reporters should present accurate information on this topic to their local television news audiences and stop spreading Republican misinformation.