by Matthew Li
Recently, Sinclair Broadcast Group has been under fire, for an incident involving a hot topic: fake news.
Sinclair is the largest TV Broadcast group, in charge of roughly 200 news stations, which spans 40% of American households (wiki source). However, their recent place in big headlines isn’t unfamiliar to Sinclair. They have faced criticism in the past for their reputation of being in charge of news stations while having leaning towards right winged views. This time around, Sinclair has earned itself a ton of attention regarding a script, sent to all their local news stations, regarding fake news. Here is the script that was sent to local news stations:
“Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.
(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.
(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback”
The script was sent to local stations, who were ordered to read the script exactly as written. Following the reading of the script, viewers noticed the numerous stations broadcasting the Sinclair script, which led to Sinclair being at the center of attention.
Sophomore Jackson S. was not happy about Sinclair’s choice. “This has been going on for a lot longer than most people have heard of, which is more of an issue, especially because it promotes a strong anti-media viewpoint, specifically towards media that reports news that could hurt right wing reputation.” He also responded by saying that “This pattern, which is supported by president Trump, is very similar to ideas promoted by dictators.” Although Sinclair’s message may not have been a direct right winged statement, many are upset that the message is very strongly aligned with specific Republican views. David Smith, the executive chair of Sinclair, even met with Trump during his 2016 election, telling him “We are here to deliver your message”. Some news anchors who were ordered to read the script felt oppressed, stating that the mood of the entire station went dark when the script was delivered.
From a more right-wing perspective, sophomore Henry B., who has more right winged views, feels that Sinclair shouldn’t be under so much fire. “ I believe that by not telling everyone it was a message from the broadcasting group, it was a tad bit misleading. I think that by not telling the viewer, they hid their cards in a sense to try to keep political bias out of the message, which obviously didn’t work.” Henry states that the message itself does not hold any partisan value, and that Sinclair’s political agenda is the same as that of CNN. “to treat Sinclair as an outlier would be dishonest.” In today’s extremely polarized society that has been fueled by personalized algorithm run media sources, Henry’s statement holds value: “In my opinion, one should be skeptical of everything they hear, regardless of the political implications.”
Whether or not you believe that Sinclair’s actions should be punished, it is hard to deny that media has become increasingly polarized, and with the ability to subscribe to news and other media sources that only show part of the picture, it is extremely important to look at issues from as many perspectives as possible.