Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the Trump-aligned media giant, thinks everyone needs to chill the fuck out about the script it made all of its local news broadcasters read word for word! The right-leaning telecommunications company is in the spotlight after making local news anchors parrot a script about journalistic responsibility and combatting “fake news”—a move that was as impartial as Fox News is fair and balanced.
After Deadspin’s video compilation of anchors reading the creepy script went viral, many media personalities and politicians have called the move “Trumpian” and propagandistic. But Sinclair thinks that everyone is freaking out for no reason. In response, they released a lengthy statement, which has been obtained by CNN, in which they explain that they were simply trying to emphasize the importance of stopping fake news like, Pizzagate or something:
The critics are now upset about our well-researched journalistic initiative focused on fair and objective reporting. For the record, the stories we are referencing in this campaign are the unsubstantiated ones (i.e. fake/false) like “Pope Endorses Trump” which move quickly across social media and result in an ill-informed public. Some other false stories, like the false “Pizzagate” story, can result in dangerous consequences. We are focused on fact-based reporting. That’s our commitment to our communities.
They’re also pretty fixated on making sure you know that George Stephanopoulos worked for Clinton:
One thing the critics DO seem obsessed with is the roughly 8 minutes a week of clearly labelled commentary that Boris Epshteyn offers in our newscasts each week. The critics continue to say that his former affiliation with Republicans makes him a propagandist. But they never offer any perspective on Boris’ appearances. They never mention that ABC News Anchor George Stephanopoulos ran Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign and served as a Senior Advisor to President Clinton for 4 years. Stephanopoulos now hosts an ABC political talk shows and co-anchors 10 hours of news a week for ABC. That is 10 hours of ‘must run’ content that all ABC affiliates must carry each week hosted by a former advisor to President Clinton. We have no problem with Mr. Stephanopoulos anchoring these newscasts, but think it is odd that Sinclair critics seem to express zero outrage over this. Critics never talk about Chris Matthews, who worked for prominent Washington Democrats, including President Carter, before becoming an NBC show host. Why don’t the critics of Boris’ at least offer this context? Why are they obsessed with the 8 minutes a week that Boris gets to offer clearly labelled commentary? Remember, no one is trying to hide Boris’ past political affiliations. We label him as a former Trump advisor. We are fully transparent about Boris.
This “I just think it’s funny how” tone is so goddamn combative, I feel like I’m in an aggressive group chat.
Read the rest of the memo at CNN.