John Oliver Slams Sinclair For Pushing Trump's "Fake News" Agenda

Rosemary Collier
April 3, 2018

News website Deadspin has since created a disconcerting, dystopian montage of local-news anchors reading the script word-for-word on air.

Sinclair's script for its TV news anchors is strikingly similar to statements Trump makes about media outlets that criticize him.

John Oliver did a segment on Sinclair back in July 2017, which emphasised the company's injection of conservative political views into their news reporting, including the daily must-run segment "Terrorism Alert Desk" and "Bottom Line with Boris", which is required to air nine times per week and features former Trump surrogate Boris Epshteyn. Livingston said that the news anchor script is "a warning about fake news circulating on social media".

Sinclair's $3.9 billion deal for Tribune, announced in May, is before the FCC and the Justice Department, where Trump appointees are leading reviews.

On Monday morning, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough called Sinclair's fake news PSA "something we would mock the Russians for in the days of Pravda".

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The first three legs were firmly in place and fully operational, but the pièce de résistance would be a Sinclair group of more than 200 stations in cities nationwide. Sinclair wrote promos for its network of local broadcasters.

Sinclair Broadcasting owns almost 200 local television stations across America.

The deal was made possible partly because the Federal Communications Commission under the Trump administration has been relaxing or eliminating a number of rules for broadcasters, including one that limits how many local news stations a single company can own.

"Some of them were a little slanted, a little biased", Pellizzaro told The New York Times.

"These reporters aren't producing original journalism; they are aggregating often-flawed-reporting-content published by other media outlets, without fact checking it - or calling us to confirm any of it", Livingston added.

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It was a fairly typical Trump tweet - and exactly the kind of message that critics hear echoed in Sinclair's mandatory anchor scripts. "Chicago's Very Own, not owned", Hoover said on Twitter. Not wanting to see his work appropriated by someone else, Burke said he rushed to get the full video posted Saturday afternoon. "It is ironic that we would be attacked for messages promoting our journalistic initiative for fair and objective reporting, and for specifically asking the public to hold our newsrooms accountable".

President Donald Trump on Monday tweeted in support of Sinclair, saying it is "far superior" to networks such as CNN and NBC.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner reportedly told business executives shortly after the election that the Trump campaign had a deal with Sinclair to exchange access to Trump and his aides for better coverage, sources told Politico.

The injection of politics in Sinclair's programming was examined a year ago on HBO's "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver".

Sinclair regularly sends video segments to the stations it owns.

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