|Image Replies||0 ()|
|Lifetime||7d 12h 0m 13s|
On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers.
It included a warning about fake news, a promise to report fairly and accurately and a request that viewers go to the station’s website and comment “if you believe our coverage is unfair.”
It may not have seemed strange until viewers began to notice that the newscasters from Seattle to Phoenix to Washington sounded very similar. Stitched-together videos on social media
showed them eerily echoing the same lines:
“The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.”
“Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias.”
“This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
The script came from Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest broadcaster, which owns or operates 193 television stations.
Last week, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a copy of the speech and reported that employees at a local news station there, KOMO, were unhappy about the script.
CNN reported on it on March 7 and said Scott Livingston, the senior vice president of news for Sinclair, had read almost the exact same speech for a segment that was distributed to outlets a year ago.
A union that represents news anchors did not respond immediately to requests for comment on Sunday.
Dave Twedell of the International Cinematographers Guild, who is a business representative for photojournalists (but not anchors) at KOMO in Seattle and KATU in Portland, Ore., said Sinclair told journalists at those stations not to discuss the company with outside news media.
Although it is the country’s largest broadcaster, Sinclair is not a household name and viewers may be unaware of who owns their local news station. Critics have accused the company of using its stations to advance a mostly right-leaning agenda.
“We work very hard to be objective and fair and be in the middle,” Mr. Livingston told The New York Times last year. “I think maybe some other news organizations may be to the left of center, and we work very hard to be in the center.”
Sinclair regularly sends video segments to the stations it owns. These are referred to as “must-runs,” and they can include content like terrorism news updates, commentators speaking in support of President Trump or speeches from company executives like the one from Mr. Livingston last year.
But asking newscasters to present the material themselves is not something that Kirstin Pellizzaro, a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, remembered from her experience as a producer at a Sinclair-owned news station in Kalamazoo, Mich., from 2014 to 2015.
The station had to air “must-run” segments that came from Sinclair, which is based outside of Baltimore. “Some of them were a little slanted, a little biased,” Ms. Pellizzaro said. “Packages of this nature can make journalists uncomfortable.”
Sinclair representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday. But Mr. Livingston told The Baltimore Sun that the script was meant to demonstrate Sinclair’s “commitment to reporting facts,” adding that false stories “can result in dangerous consequences,” referring to the Pizzagate conspiracy as an example.
“We are focused on fact-based reporting,” Mr. Livingston continued. “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.”
Ms. Pellizzaro said she can talk about Sinclair more freely now because she is working in academia, whereas journalists at stations owned by Sinclair might feel pressured not to bite the hand that feeds them.
“I hope people realize that the journalists are trying their best, and this shouldn’t reflect poorly on them,” she said. “They’re just under this corporate umbrella.”
Sinclair has been accused of using connections in the Trump administration to ease regulations on media consolidation. In an effort to expand its reach, the company is seeking approval from the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission for a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media.
>"fake news" is a term coined by the MSM
>MSM, for months, blames "fake news" for misleading populace into both supporting Trump and believing wild conspiracy theories about Hillary, constantly warns people to combat "fake news" by using "fact checking" sites
>MSM warns their audiences about "fake news" in mass scripted event
>clearly this is because they're now pro-trump right-wing state run TV
Has the ever been a bigger "does not follow"?
> On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers.
I don’t understand what the problem is here, are they not employees of the Sinclair?
“In local McDonalds across the United States last month, thousands of employees made the same Big Macs for their combined millions of customers.”
Restaurants don't have Freedom of the Burger. As tasty as that sounds.
Journalists have Freedom of the Press. And Sinclair has a large enough monopoly on local broadcasting that in many places they can fire and blacklist anchors that refuse to run their stories, regardless of what the story is.
A CNN anchor who decides this is a biased story he's been handed can at least run to Fox News or something. Sinclair has no competitors at that level. Worse, they force noncompete and severance fines on many of their workers.
So the cost of leaving Sinclair is, in order:
>pay a fine, usually several thousand dollars
>don't work journalism at all for several months at minimum
>never be hired by Sinclair or anyone they have control over ever again
And they have, or will have, control over a majority of local broadcasting in this country. They have a stranglehold on local broadcast journalism.
This. As someone who's been in journalism, it makes me sick not only that some of these people have been put in impossible positions where they had to say this (and they've written editorials where they've said how terrible it felt to say or produce it), but also that more organizations didn't stage a walkout rather than do it. Fuck, our *high school* newspaper did a walkout in my time, and several over its history, against the possibility of censorship or administrative overreach.
On-air talent can be replaced within minutes of firing, but not an entire news staff.
> Journalists have Freedom of the Press.
No, the network those journalists work for has freedom of the press and this isn’t a case of the government trying to take that right away, it’s a company telling its employees what to do and that’s perfectly legal.
The employees are free to quit if they don’t like the management policies of their employer but nothing at all about this issue has anything to do with the 1st Amendment.
The newscasters are employees of the network and the network has every right to tell them what to say, doesn’t matter if it’s Sinclair, CNN, Huffington Post, FOX, The New York Times, People Magazine, etc.
Maybe they should have found gainful employment instead of getting journalism degrees so they wouldn't have to desperately suck the dicks of their corporate masters in order to stay alive.
It's like going into criminal defense and feeling like you've been put into the "impossible position" of defending criminals.
> Whether or not it's legal,
There is absolutely noting “illegal” about this in any conceivable way.
> it's EXTREMELY unethical
So is it also unethical when CNN, Huffington Post and The New York Times tell their employees what to say?
Yeah, I didn’t think so…
> and that is not something where you can just hammer the law in response.
And what kinda law would you have passed; "employees can do and say whatever the fuck they want and their employers can't do shit about it"?
Why don't you try that at the McDonalds you work at and see what happens.
> Be anon, get a gig at Huffington Post
> “Hey Anon, write us an article about how guns are evil and only misogynists own them.”
> “Sure thing, boss lady!”
> The next day
> “Guns Are Great & Cool, Bitches Are Stupid” by Anon at Huffington Post
> “You’re fired.”
> “But… but, muh freedumb of speech!”
It actually does since no one here was having a meltdown about "LEFT WING STATE RUN TV" when every news outlet was frothing about "Donald Trumps dark vision for America" clearly working off the same talking points.
I guess it's okay when the correct media conglomerates do it.
Yes. Yes it is.
If you have a reporter at CNN, or huff post, or any of those 'big' news sources, that disagrees with the message their boss wants, they can leave.
And to be fair, they can leave Sinclair too - after a several-thousand-dollar severance fine, a six-month noncompete period, and a local news blacklisting which will basically kill their career.
We know Sinclair does this. Does Fox News? Does CNN?
> > Again; is it unethical for CNN, Huffington Post and The New York Times tell their employees what to say?
> Yes. Yes it is.
Go tell your boss to fuck off and that you’re going to do as you please.
Let us know how that works out for you…
Not doing something that is fundamentally against the ethics of yourself or your profession, that is not critical to the job you were hired to do, is essential to every employee's right to be treated fairly.
A doctor cannot be forced by their employer to make false scientific claims, or falsify results, or mislead patients, or knowingly deliver negligent care. In fact, if the doctor or employer does any of those things, the doctor is held liable as much as the employer, if not by the law then by the AMA. (This was relevant in particular for military and contractor doctors and psychiatrists in the CIA torture/enhanced interrogation years as to what extent they could ethically participate in such programs).
Here journalists are being forced by ridiculous monetary requirements (giving back 60% of their pay for the year if they violate) to give a statement that most mainstream journalists consider antithetical to the modern profession itself.
This. If I were a lawyer, asked by my legal office to misrepresent my client in a court of law, the client would have every right to move for a mistrial, and I would be disbarred faster than you can say 'I OBJECT'.
I am not a LAWYER, but I am an engineer, and in my profession we are required to swear by the ethical code of our accrediting agency (the National Council for the Evaluation of Engineers and Scientists, or NCEES) - that we will never, EVER place our loyalty to a company or agency above the truth the data shows us. And if our company requires us to lie, we can leave, and be legally protected from the consequences of doing so.
Professional ethics are a THING.
>calling out fake news
It's a directed character assassination of the major news networks. You know, the "everything NBC reports is fake news" party line. Which is in and of itself fake news.
The people who made this statement are corporate whores, every one of them.
page took 0.0283 seconds to execute