The media lambasted Sinclair Broadcasting Group this week for directing its news anchors to read a promotional script criticizing the nation’s current deficiency in media ethics.
Sinclair, a right-leaning company, is the nation’s number-one owner of TV stations, and liberal outlets such as Deadspin claimed it was turning its news anchors into “soldiers in Trump’s war on the media.” The company’s promo was widely condemned among liberal journalists and caused one Sinclair producer, Justin Simmons, to resign. He claimed the ad was “almost forcing local news anchors to lie to their viewers,” according to CNN reporter Brian Stelter.
But the language of the promo itself seems totally innocuous, claiming that the “truth” is “neither politically left nor right.” These are statements that would be praised were they said by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow or even Hillary Clinton, but it’s being derided as malicious coming from a right-leaning source.
Simmons claimed Sinclair had an “obvious bias,” but it turns out that Simmons himself is far from an apolitical journalist. He is a liberal activist who has organized a Black Lives Matter protest and participated in protests against Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in 2016.
Writers at the far-left Think Progress cried that the promo was a nefarious attempt to “undermine non-Sinclair stations.” Sinclair’s goal was of course to undermine its competitors and frame its product as superior, as is the goal of any advertisement. If Americans don’t like what Sinclair is selling, there are 1,780 TV stations in the U.S., and we can change the channel.
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