Deadspin’s viral video featuring dozens of Sinclair news anchors delivering the same scripted diatribe about “fake news” has compelled some of those news anchors to speak out.
Today, Vox published an essay anonymously written by journalists who work for a local news station owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Frustrated and uncomfortable with the direction in which Sinclair is taking their newscasts, the essay calls attention to Sinclair’s questionable ethics and the corporate mandates that they impose on the journalists who work at their 193 television stations.
“We are writing this essay because we’re disturbed by the editorial direction our leadership is taking, and we want people to know that many of us at Sinclair reject what our company is doing,” they wrote.
This is only the latest instance of Sinclair news anchors speaking out. Since Deadspin released the video online, some of those featured in the video, as well as former employees, have spoken out against the corporatization of their news network.
The Vox essay doesn’t list any of the journalists’ names, nor does it note how many people signed off on it. “We’re writing this anonymously because if we spoke out under our names, we could lose our jobs — and potentially owe money to Sinclair,” they explained. Earlier this week, Bloomberg published a report about the tactics that Sinclair uses to make it difficult and expensive for some employees to leave their jobs.
Aside from the “must-run” promos that the news anchors were instructed to do, Sinclair news broadcasts are also required to air right-wing commentary from a former senior advisor to the Trump campaign, as well as a daily segment about terror-related incidents around the world.
Anonymous Sinclair Journalists
We are writing this essay because we’re disturbed by the editorial direction our leadership is taking, and we want people to know that many of us at Sinclair reject what our company is doing.
For his part, Sinclair’s chairman David D. Smith (predictably) thinks that the media has misconstrued the point of the promo. “You cant [sic] be serious!” Smith wrote to the New York Times. “Do you understand that as a practical matter every word that comes out of the mouths of network news people is scripted and approved by someone?”
Sinclair is in the middle of trying to massively expand its reach, which needs to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. They are a favorite of the First Family: Donald Trump recently tweeted that Sinclair is a “far superior” media company. Is that because they struck a deal to give him more favorable coverage during the 2016 campaign, per First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner?