But Sinclair got a vote of confidence Monday in a tweet from Trump.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday morning to defend Sinclair Broadcast Group’s controversial fake news warning, which dozens of local news anchors across the country repeated last month. The group owns nearly 200 local television stations across the country and if they buy out Tribune, they will get control over 42 more stations.
Tribune owns Dallas TV station KDAF-TV (Channel 33), the city’s CW affiliate, so the purchase would mean new ownership for the station.
The Democratic lawmakers also noted that Trump reportedly discussed potential FCC rule changes in a meeting with Sinclair’s executive chairman and said that Pai or his staff “have met with Sinclair representatives on numerous occasions”.
QVT Financial LP lifted its position in shares of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (NASDAQ:SBGI) by 45.7% during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country”, the Sinclair script said.
Sinclair’s owners and parts of the local broadcasts have conservative leanings, and critics said the promotional videos, as published by Deadspin, looked like “corporate authoritarian propaganda”. “This is extremely unsafe to our democracy”.
Scott Livingston, vice president of news for Sinclair (who has since been promoted to senior vice president of news), defended the move and said the Clinton campaign received the same offer. Affinity Investment Advisors LLC raised its stake in Sinclair Broadcast Group by 3.0% in the second quarter.
To rally advertisers to boycott Sinclair stations is a much more hard endeavor.
Sinclair Broadcasting owns almost 200 local television stations across America. And as Politico reports, last December Jared Kushner was openly bragging about striking a deal between Sinclair and the Trump campaign.
“Not that you would print it, but do you understand that every local TV station is required to “must run” from its network their content”, he wrote, citing “all their news programming and other shows such as late-night talk, which is just late-night political so-called comedy”.
The new “fake news” spots attracted little controversy when they began airing on Sinclair stations last week, including on its largest station, WJLA, in Washington. The new version, however, uses local anchors who are familiar to viewers and may have greater cachet and credibility.
A TV anchor stares at the camera and recites a seemingly-benign script about the dangers of fake news and why her station prides itself on “quality, balanced journalism”.
Journalists have a responsibility to serve as a bulwark against threats to a free press.