Sinclair Broadcast Group And The Infamous Fake News Script

The weekend revelations about the transformation of the Sinclair Broadcast Group in the United States into the Pravda of American television has taken some people by surprise (not least, because many thought that Fox News was fulfilling that role). However the family-owned cable business, with its legion of local TV stations across the country, has been moving in that direction for decades. As CNN reported at the start of March, the ultra-conservative management of the company has issued instructions to all of its affiliates, insisting that their anchors promote a conspiratorial script about “fake news”, effectively in support of President Donald Trump. The sports and news site, Deadspin, has put together a nice video of the end product.

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9 comments

    1. Isn’t that the truth. It’s ironic CNN is bringing the story with their sordid past. It just, once again, shows how the media have turned into pure propaganda organs of whoever pays their bill.

    2. Sinclair has flown under the radar for many years, so they probably thought they’d get away with it. Federal approval for new acquisitions has put it under the spotlight for the first time in a long time.

      To be fair, corporate scripts/promos like this are fairly common among affiliates in the US, as I understand it. However they usually steer clear of the newsrooms and if they do it is usually a focus on shared fluff stories (rollerskating dogs and the like).

      This was much more partisan and in very obvious Trump-like language.

  1. 15 years ago the NYTimes fired Chris Hedges for opposing the imminent Iraq war with facts and logic. MSNBC fired Phil Donahue for the same reason. CNN, ABC, NC, CBS and Fox all promoted the US govt propaganda uncritically and suppressed any voice that critiqued it.

    It was not much different during Gulf War I in 1992 where the same outlets toed the govt line pretty much uncritically. Nor was there much difference in how the BBC covered the Troubles. Nor how the US media covered Vietnam – remember Sy Hersh had to be brought into the NYTimes because the culture within the news paper was to blithely and uncritically repeat US govt propaganda about the war.

    About the only sources of news left worth paying attention to in the US are Pacifica, Democracy Now and a handful of independent youtube journalists.

    And surely Fox News has been the Pravda of the US for going on twenty years now?

    1. The treatment of Phil Donahue was disgraceful. Today he would be considered a liberal martyr but back then most of the media lined up behind the Iraq invasion and turned their backs on him. And few have made an effort to apologise for when they turned on the lone – and sane – voice in the political wilderness post-9/11.

      I noticed that Chris Matthews has made some attempt to defend the US media position viz. the War on Terror in recent years, trying to claim that not everyone was behind the Iraq invasion which is just bollocks. 90% of the mainstream media were cheerleaders for the actions and the 10% were sidelined. Like Donanhue.

      1. Chris Matthews has long been a sneaking regarder. Got to think of him as a 90s Blue Dog Reagan Democrat, that occasionally puts his foot in his mouth by making a vaguely left wing comment. Cenk Uygur has been candid about how he was told to toe the corporate line and when he declined was booted from MSNBC. Maddow, Hayes, O’Donnell all tote the MIIC line faithfully.

        It only took 6 years from Clinton deregulating media ownership in the 1996 Telecommunications bill to universal media support for the invasion of Iraq in 2002. Extrapolate that trend another 16 years.

        John Oliver did a piece on this, worth watching if only to see the KPIX clip near the top.

    2. It was a way for them to remove the last of the real reporters. They set the tone for the new generation to do as they are told.

  2. Exactly, I do think the role of the Pravda switches now depending on who is in charge, however. Fox for the ReTurds and CNN for the DemoRats.

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