- President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted a defence of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which sent out a “must read” script to anchors at hundreds of US stations criticising media bias.
- Trump said Sinclair was still “superior” to CNN and other cable-news networks, calling them “Fake News Networks.”
- Sinclair, however, has previously come under scrutiny for coverage considered to be biased.
President Donald Trump used Twitter on Monday to defend the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns hundreds of local news stations across the US, after the company forced anchors at its stations to read a preprepared script decrying media bias and “false news.”
“So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticise Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased,” Trump wrote. “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”
Trump has long voiced his opposition to outlets such as CNN and NBC that covered him critically during the campaign and into his presidency, and he has frequently referred to journalists collectively as “fake news.”
The message Sinclair had its anchors read criticised members of the media who it said “use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think.’
“This is extremely dangerous to a democracy,” the message continued.
Clips of anchors reading the message went viral over the weekend, and the comedian John Oliver did a segment about Sinclair on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday evening.
Sinclair itself has come under fire for biased, pro-Trump political coverage. The broadcaster has previously given its stations “must run” segments including commentary from the former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, content in 2004 criticising John Kerry – then a Democratic presidential candidate – and terrorism “alerts,” Deadspin reported.
But Kirstin Pellizzaro, who worked at a station owned by Sinclair in Kalamazoo, Michigan, said this may have been the first time the company had asked anchors themselves to read a script handed to them.
“Some of them were a little slanted, a little biased,” Pellizzaro told The New York Times. “Packages of this nature can make journalists uncomfortable.”
The senior vice president of news at Sinclair, Scott Livingston, defended his company’s move.
“We are focused on fact-based reporting,” Livingston told The Baltimore Sun. “That’s our commitment to our communities. That’s the goal of these announcements: to reiterate our commitment to reporting facts in a pursuit of truth.”
Watch a compilation of Sinclair’s scripted coverage here:
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