Speed Reads

the other side

Sinclair, and Trump, push back against the video montage of Sinclair anchors reading the same Trumpean message

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation's largest TV broadcaster, is playing defense after Deadspin unleashed a video over the weekend showing anchors at its 170-plus local news stations reading the exact same warning about the "troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country," the "sharing of biased and false news" and "fake stories" on social media, and the "members of the media [who] use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think," which "is extremely dangerous to our democracy."

The video went viral in part because of Sinclair's conservative bent and pending expansion, and because having dozens of news anchors reading the same warning about bias and "fake" news, localized and not mentioning that it came from corporate headquarters, was a little creepy. On Monday, Sinclair's vice president of news, Scott Livingston, defended his "corporate news journalistic responsibility promotional campaign" in both an internal memo obtained by CNN and public statements.

Livingston told local news directors that "the stories we are referencing in this campaign are the unsubstantiated ones (i.e. fake/false) like 'Pope Endorses Trump'" and "the false 'Pizzagate' story." Sinclair said in a statement that "the promos served no political agenda, and represented nothing more than an effort to differentiate our award-winning news programming from other, less reliable sources of information." Also on Monday, Trump defended Sinclair and offered some names to fill in Sinclair's blanks.

Local news anchors at Sinclair-owned stations also took to social media to defend their credibility or express remorse. "Everyone is really embarrassed after watching the Deadspin video," an employee at one station told CNN.