The Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest local TV owner is under fire for using it's news anchors as weapons in Trump's ongoing battle against the "fake news networks" by using them to regurgitate a promo full of Trumplike talking points.
But President Donald Trump defended Sinclair in a tweet Monday, saying: "So amusing to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased". The company owns or operates more than 193 stations (full list), a lot of them affiliates of major TV networks, including CBS.
"This promo addresses the troubling trend of false stories on social media and distinguishes our trusted local stations as news destinations where we are committed to honest and accurate reporting", Sinclair Vice President Scott Livingston told CNN. "This is extremely unsafe to our democracy". Over the weekend, media outlet Deadspin released a video showing anchors from dozens of those markets reading the script in unison - including the Treasure Valley affiliate.
Sinclair's conservative views are a subject of discussion and is a factor as the company is looking to expand by purchasing Tribune Media which is now under review by federal regulators.
The script, which is required to be read during news time rather than using up commercial spots, includes anchors saying they're "extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [proper news brand name of local station] produces". "Here's why", the tweet reads, followed by a link to CNN story breaking the resignation news.
United States escalates China trade showdown with tariffs on $50 billion in imports
Affected products will include a wide variety of agricultural products such as soybeans, corn, beef, orange juice and tobacco. He said: "We have never had an economy like we have right now, and we are going to make it bigger, and better and stronger'".
This isn't new behavior from Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Oliver again criticized Sinclair for pushing Epsheteyn commentaries, and aired part of the Deadspin clip of anchors reading from the script. "The "Fakers" at CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS have done so much dishonest reporting that they should only be allowed to get awards for fiction!" he wrote Tuesday. He has few safe spaces in legit news media, places where he can be relatively sure that his policies or scandals won't be pressed too hard. For example, a December 2016 story by Politico said that The Trump campaign "struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage". Sinclair stations also provided a friendly forum for Trump interviews during the campaign.
On the show's most recent episode, however, Oliver had new reason to wade back in Sinclair's murky waters.
Ultimately, how can a press remain free and objective when those who are put in control of it are most interested in profit and advancing a political agenda?