Political Focus: Sinclair Broadcasting, a danger to journalistic integrity

John Bozick, Web Editor

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Last month a disturbing clip began trending on Twitter and Facebook pertaining to the fact that dozens of different local news stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group were forced to say the same speech at the end of the newscast. Including warnings of fake news, and how said news was a threat to or democracy; the stations also pledged to continue to report fairly and accurately.

“The sharing of biased and false news has become all to common on social media. Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal ideas. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy,” were the words that played in unison across dozens of different news networks.

While reporting the truth is the number one rule of journalism, the fact that dozens of news stations in different areas all in different states were forced by Sinclair to say the same thing is an ere idea. Sinclair may sound familiar due to John Oliver’s bit on the issue from July 2017 in which he criticized the group’s past antics.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group owns a total of 173 different stations across the country from cities such as Washington D.C. to some of the smaller cities in Northern and Western Michigan. What you get when one corporation owns hundreds of different stations is a group that has the power to spread information across a platform as large as the continental United States.

Sinclair has used its influence to air anti-Kerry ads during the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry, the incident was so bad that the group fired a reporter for criticizing the ad. The group also spent millions supporting President Donald Trump during the most recent presidential election in 2016, after which the group began to turn its eyes toward creating a media empire aimed at supporting the unpopular president.

If dozens of news anchors staring into the camera reading the same lines doesn’t say it, Sinclair hold its employees in an iron grip, and just like the past it will take action against them at a moment’s notice if they remotely criticize the corporations actions or ethical practices.

In November 2017, Sinclair took legal action against a news anchor from WPEC News, a CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, Fla., after she left the studio with 11 weeks remaining in her contract, despite the fact that the anchor had left nearly a year before the lawsuit was filed.

When corporations own as many stations as Sinclair, ethical issues arise. Running negative stories against certain political candidates is not how journalism should work. When the station warns its viewers against fake news, they should also mention the news run on their own network.

Corporations do not mean well to those besides their owners, they don’t care about anything other than profit. When a group such as Sinclair acquires as many stations as it does, they’re doing so not to uphold journalistic integrity, but instead to expand their own influence and reach. Those searching for real honest news should turn away from television and support the little guy, those that care about the code of ethics and reporting the real truth.