SAG-AFTRA, which represents thousands of TV journalists, has come out swinging against the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s “fake news” warning that dozens of its local broadcasters around the country were required to read on the air.
“The journalists who work for Sinclair Broadcast Group are hard-working and dedicated professionals who care deeply about the work that they do,” a spokesperson for the union said. “Over the last couple of days, many of them have been the subject of misdirected criticism for the script Sinclair required them to read for its recent promotional campaign. SAG-AFTRA has been in contact with Sinclair to express our concerns with this campaign, and we stand with our members and journalists everywhere in challenging corporate directives that call into question the journalistic integrity of the news presented to the public. SAG-AFTRA opposes such directives in the interest of defending the professionalism of journalists and preserving the basic rights of a free and independent press.”
The right-leaning telecommunications company, which owns or operates 193 stations across the country – covering 40% of American households – forced its broadcasters to do promos in which they read from a script that parroted President Donald Trump’s criticism of the media.
“We’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country,” the Sinclair script said. “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories, without checking facts first.”
Watch Deadspin’s mash-up of dozens of the Sinclair promos: