If Sinclair Broadcast Group wanted to point out the danger fake news reporting poses to democracy, it couldn’t have picked a better medium for it than to mandate all the anchors on its local news stations to read a corporate script attacking the authentic and unscripted news reporting of legitimate news organizations as “fake news.” (Gee, I wonder who invented that phrase?)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay for American news outlets to express their own political opinions -- they’ve been doing it as long as there have been American news organizations -- but it’s important to disclose it as opinion or “editorial,” not to have your local news anchors reporting it as news. It’s not just a dishonest violation of the station’s trust with its viewers, it is an attempt to undermine democracy by utilizing a corporate agenda to discredit and marginalize actual news reporting.
Kudos ot Deadspin for mashing all the local Sinclair stations up into one hilarious montage of local anchors reading their corporately mandated script, which you can read below and decide how dangerous it is for yourself.
And by the way, in case it’s isn’t clear, what you’re reading now, RTBlog, is NOT news reporting. It is 100% the opinion of this blogger. And I know many readers won’t agree with me and I encourage you to leave your comments below or send me an op-ed and we promise to publish it too.
The point of this post is that disclosure is an important part thin line demarking genuine news from fake news.
Sinclair Broadcast Group statement transcribed:
"Hi, I'm (station news personality A) ____________, and I'm (station news personality B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our community. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [this Sinclair station] 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 [this Sinclair station], 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 [this Sinclair station’s website] 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.