Sinclair ‘forced read’ generates negative ratings

Sinclair Broadcast Group recently forced its local news anchors to read the same report on the dangers of fake news generating criticism for running pro-Trump propaganda. The company often distributes “must-runs” reflecting the political stances of the conservative company owners. (The New York Times, April 2, 2018, by Jacey Fortin and Jonah Engel Bromwich)

The “forced read” segment warned of one-sided news, championed fact-checking and complained of “false news” and “fake stories.” Sinclair owns 193 stations in the U.S. which will escalate to 230 when the merger with Tribune Media is approved by the Trump administration. (New York Magazine, April 1, 2018, by Chas Danner)

Timothy Burke of Deadspin, March 31, 2018, wrote that Sinclair served a political agenda when it required its affiliates to broadcast anti-John Kerry statements in 2004 and when it regularly runs “Terrorism Alerts” and editorials from a former Trump adviser.

Sinclair responded to criticism by claiming that the forced read segment was a benign “corporate news journalist responsibility promotional campaign” and affirmed the company’s commitment to fact-based reporting. (CNN, April 2, 2018, by Brian Stelter)