If you work for a Sinclair station, or if you work in a market where they operate, you may have already seen a new promo airing. Last month, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that the promo was not going over well with some anchors. It calls out “one-sided news stories,” and accused “some media outlets” of publishing “fake stories without checking facts first.”
The script, which parrots Donald Trump’s oft-declarations of developments negative to his presidency as “fake news,” brought upheaval to newsrooms already dismayed with Sinclair’s consistent interference to bring right-wing propaganda to local television broadcasts.
Deadspin published a transcription of the script and a video montage of anchors across the U.S. reading the script. Critics of the video were quick to voice their concern on social media, calling it “chilling” and an attempt to push an “extremely biased agenda.”
Sinclair’s corporate mandates are exacerbating tensions between the company’s local stations and its management. Journalists in local markets are chafing at the company’s requirements. Sinclair employees in several different markets described tense conversations in their newsrooms and anger directed at the company’s Hunt Valley, Md., headquarters.
A team of producers at Sinclair Broadcast Group—which owns 193 TV stations nationwide—creates the “must-runs.” The segments typically feature the company’s chief political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, a Russian-born former adviser to the president, and other conservatives from Trump world, including Sebastian Gorka, his former deputy assistant.