About a month ago, I wrote about some things happening on the "fake news" front. One was that Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest owner of local TV stations in the U.S., was planning to have its local news anchors read scripted editorials implying that much of the mainstream news media are not truthful in their reporting. Sounds a lot like what we hear from the White House and its occupant, as well as from the conservative movement's mouthpieces -- Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh and, of course, FOX News.
It finally happened the other day ... dozens and dozens of local anchors at Sinclair's 193 stations read the same message, fomenting distrust in our news media.
It made the news -- at least the media that report real news. It's also gone viral as someone put together a video that shows anchors from stations around the country voicing exactly the same thing. I'm not sure if FOX did anything on it.
From what I've read in trade journals, many local news anchors were upset, but most read the pieces because their livelihoods -- and their families -- depend on them. A few refused to do it, and I haven't heard if there have yet been any repercussions.
I'll repeat what I wrote about this a few weeks ago...
Even though these pieces are being labeled as “opinion,” it is still extremely harmful to our democracy and to the public interest to have on-air reporters and anchors demeaning other media and promoting the idea of them being fake news.
It’s unfortunate and it’s dangerous, since it further pushes the concept of our news media doing fake news, ironically from one of the media companies that has been most guilty of disseminating fake and biased news.
My advice… check to see which station in your market is owned by Sinclair and be forewarned.
Wayne Friedman, who covers TV for MediaPost, has an interesting take on it. Worth reading what he has to say.