A Sinclair Broadcast ad boycott wouldn't be easy

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns over 200 local news stations across the United States including WGN

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns over 200 local news stations across the United States including WGNImage Getty Images

The group owns roughly 200 television stations across the country, has recently been under heavy criticism after the video circulated with dozens of stations reading the same script criticizing so-called "fake news" stories.

"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", Trump wrote on Twitter.

The existence of the script was reported by CNN almost a month ago, and Deadspin posted a video of news anchors from around the country reading the script to their viewers this past weekend. "This is extremely unsafe to democracy".

Sinclair is now in negotiations for a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media, which owns 42 local TV stations.

Scott Livingston, the company's senior vice president of news, directed stations to have anchors read a script about "fake stories" and "personal bias" plaguing the media, according to a memo obtained by CNNMoney. The group says it found at least 62 Sinclair stations reaching 29 states and the District of Columbia that have broadcast their own versions of the scripted segment.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, its stations in key swing states landed numerous exclusive interviews with Trump and his surrogates, and the company produced a number of news reports that were favorable to Trump or were critical of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. "Here's why", the tweet reads, followed by a link to CNN story breaking the resignation news. Tribune says it owns or operates 42 local TV stations, including stations "in each of the nation's top three markets and seven of the top 10".

But instructing local TV anchors to read a script like this in their own voices is a new development.

Sinclair did not immediately return calls for comment.

To rally advertisers to boycott Sinclair stations is a much more hard endeavor.

Journalists at Sinclair stations have been forced to run right-leaning segments for years. Evidently, it's not just creeping Oliver out either; several celebrities have expressed their concerns about the company.

This was a chilling reminder of what happens to local news sources when a large media group has a stranglehold on power and a political agenda. "The "Fakers" at CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS have done so much dishonest reporting that they should only be allowed to get awards for fiction!"

It is understood that numerous anchors forced to read the script felt uncomfortable doing so. "I felt like a POW recording a message", one anchor said.

"I was a broadcast journalist for 32 years, and I see this Sinclair move as an effort to discredit all news media except Sinclair", Gardner told the Statesman.

Democrats have also chided FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump-appointed Republican, for supporting TV ownership rule changes that would make it easier for the merger to pass regulatory scrutiny.

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