Sinclair could bring its 'fake news' crusade to a Dallas station soon

07 April, 2018, 00:57 | Author: Ann Santiago
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As Deadspin's video of anchors reading Sinclair's script went viral, some local anchors began anonymously and openly criticizing the company's attempts to exert ideological control over smaller stations that many American households rely on for daily news.

Sinclair owns more than 190 TV stations across the country, more than any other media company, and is seeking to acquire dozens more by purchasing Tribune Media.

Deadspin's video stops at a line that it repeats again and again, to drive home the video's critical message: "This is extremely unsafe to our democracy".

WOAI anchor Delaine Mathieu responded to critics on Facebook who blasted her apparent willingness to read the message decrying "Fake News", a script identical to ones many other Sinclair-owned networks across the country also delivered.

The company is now offering $3.9 billion to purchase Tribune Media, which owns WGNO-TV and WNOL-TV in New Orleans.

Meanwhile, CNN's Jim Acosta was criticised by some conservative media outlets on Monday for shouting questions about immigration to Trump while the president and first lady were attending an Easter event on the grounds of the White House.

Sinclair is the biggest owner of local television stations in the United States, owning or operating 173 of them.

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Last year, Sinclair Broadcast Group hired Boris Epshteyn, who previously served as special assistant and campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, as a political analyst. After all, several weeks ago, CNN's Brian Stelter wrote about Sinclair's plan to force its anchors to read these anti-media promos - and it wasn't quite as alarming as seeing it on video. They were told to use time slotted for news, not for advertising, and to repeat the message often.

Local stations were instructed to run the messages during news programs.

There has been no immediate comment from Sinclair. John Oliver and co. already covered Sinclair in great depth in a 2017 episode of Last Week Tonight. "Shamefully, and in direct violation of the court's orders, no proper evaluation has occurred", said Free Press Deputy Director and Senior Counsel Jessica J. González in a statement.

Last year, Sinclair announced that it would buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. He has few safe spaces in legit news media, places where he can be relatively sure that his policies or scandals won't be pressed too hard. Some told the outlet they believe the promos are "inappropriate", and one felt "uncomfortable" recording them.

Democrats have also chided FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump-appointed Republican, for supporting TV ownership rule changes that would make it easier for the merger to pass regulatory scrutiny.

Most of Sinclair's stations are CNN affiliates - meaning CNN shares content and resources with them and vice versa.

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