Tuesday, April 03, 2018 by Joel M. Harrison
Back in May 2017, ANP highlighted how the liberal mainstream media had coordinated, with multiple outlets like The Washington Post, New York Times, CNN , LA Times, Reuters, The Hill, AOL News, Wall Street Journal and MSNBC, colluding to force a story to go viral by all using the same headlines, in some cases using the exact same wording, as we also noted those headlines were “fake news.”
(Republished from AllNewsPipeline.com, by Susan Duclos)
This was the screen shot we grabbed from a Google search at the time:
In 2013, late night comedian Conan O’Brien even highlighted on his show how local television stations were using scripted messages, laughing at the ridiculousness of the entire joke that the media had become. Then in 2015, Conan did it again offering even more examples.
The mainstream media never cared much about it…… until now.
Sinclair Broadcasting, generally described as more conservative in nature than the majority of the MSM, gave their local reporters a script to read, highlighting the MSM’s general “bias” and how media outlets pushing “fake stories,” saying they do so “without checking facts first,” while maintaining that at (insert specific station here) “it’s our responsibility to report the truth.”
Full script below, via DeadSpin:
Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our [local] communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [station] produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories … stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control “exactly what people think.” … This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At [station] it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically “left nor right.” Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
THE GREAT AWAKENING OF THE MASSES – 77% SAY MSM REPORTS ‘FAKE NEWS’
Sinclair’s message has the agreement of the majority of Americans, as we note that 77 percent of Americans, according to a new Monmouth University poll, have had a great awakening and say that “traditional media” aka the mainstream media, do report “fake news,” with 31 percent saying they do so “regularly,” and 46 percent says it occurs occasionally.
The survey also shows that Americans increasingly feel that fake news is reported by mainstream media outlets.
“These findings are troubling, no matter how you define ‘fake news.’ Confidence in an independent fourth estate is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Ours appears to be headed for the intensive care unit,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement.
The poll shows that 77 percent of respondents believe that fake news is reported at least occasionally, up from 63 percent who said the same last year.
No matter the truth of the message by Sinclair Broadcasting, as a writer that has heavily criticized the mainstream media for colluding on their messaging in an attempt to push propaganda onto Americans, I have to say to Sinclair: STOP. Rolling around in the same mud the MSM does will only get you dirty.
LIBERAL MSM FINALLY AGREES SCRIPTING REPORTS IS A BAD IDEA…. WHEN CONSERVATIVES DO IT
With that said though, it is interesting that the very same mainstream media that ignored this type of scripting by local newscasters in the past, and utilize the same type of scripting in their written and published reports (as shown in the screen shot above), are absolutely having a cow and suddenly seem to agree with those of us that have been criticizing them for the same antics, as they now are all headlining and expressing what a bad idea colluding, coordinating and scripting messages truly is.
It appears that now the shoe is on the other foot, they are not happy campers.
NYT: Sinclair Made Dozens of Local News Anchors Recite the Same Script
Media Matters: Here are 66 local news stations airing Sinclair’s brainwashing anti-media promo
MediaIte: Morning Joe Slams Sinclair For ‘Chilling’ Anti-Media Promos: ‘It’s State Media’
Washington Post: How local TV is trending toward Trump TV
Not quite sure what is more entertaining for conservatives, the fact that liberal outlets are so outraged that a conservative outlet did the same thing they have been doing for years, or the hypocrisy of it, or the fact that some of them are using their own scripted headlines to express said outrage about Sinclair Broadcasting’s scripted news.
Or maybe the outrage is solely because the Sinclair script is informing viewers that liberal outlets have been reporting fake news, which might bring that 77 percent that understand the MSM reports false news, to an even higher level now that their local news is informing them of it.
Take your pick, but either way, color me very amused at their extreme concern now over Sinclair, when they did not care a fig previously, and are still doing it themselves, even today.
SINCLAIR RESPONDS VIA MEMO TO NEWSROOMS
In a memo from Sinclair SVP Scott Livingston to Sinclair newsrooms on Monday, Mr. Livingston highlights a number of issues their “critics” consistently neglect to mention in their “misleading, often defamatory stories” about Sinclair, which is the largest operator of local television stations across the nation.
· The critics don’t talk about *your* journalism awards. They seem disinterested that in 2017 *YOU won* more than 400 awards, including 8 national awards for journalistic excellence.
· The critics don’t talk about *your audience growth*: many of your news operations have gained audience consistently and steadily in recent years. We are very proud of this accomplishment and it’s a story our critics ignore. The February 2018 ratings period was a good one for us with more than a third of our stations gaining market share vs. the previous year.
· The critics don’t talk about the capital investments and the staffing additions Sinclair has made in its newsrooms: we have expanded news by 92 hours in 16 markets in the last two years and we have added 78 news positions since 2015 date.
· Recent critics never mention our innovations — like Project Baltimore, Full Measure or Circa or other forward-thinking projects that could help us expand our audiences for decades to come.
· One thing the critics DO seem obsessed with is the roughly 8 minutes a week of clearly labelled commentary that BorisEpshteyn offers in our newscasts each week. The critics continue to say that his former affiliation with Republicans makes him a propagandist. But they never offer any perspective on Boris’ appearances. They never mention that ABC News Anchor George Stephanopoulos ran Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign and served as a Senior Advisor to President Clinton for 4 years. Stephanopoulos now hosts an ABC political talk shows and co-anchors 10 hours of news a week for ABC. That is 10 hours of ‘must run’ content that all ABC affiliates must carry each week hosted by a former advisor to President Clinton. We have no problem with Mr. Stephanopoulos anchoring these newscasts, but think it is odd that Sinclair critics seem to express zero outrage over this. Critics never talk about Chris Matthews, who worked for prominent Washington Democrats, including President Carter, before becoming an NBC show host. Why don’t the critics of Boris’ at least offer this context? Why are they obsessed with the 8 minutes a week that Boris gets to offer clearly labelled commentary? Remember, no one is trying to hide Boris’ past political affiliations. We label him as a former Trump advisor. We are fully transparent about Boris.
· Regarding 2016 Presidential Campaign Coverage: Media reports have mischaracterized Sinclair’s coverage of the Clinton and Trump 2016 campaign saying that, “(the) Trump campaign made a deal with Sinclair for favorable coverage.”
— Three years ago, our national bureau in Washington D.C. began a weekly project called “Connect to Congress”. Each week, when Congress is in session, we set up a camera in the Capitol Hill Rotundas and offer lawmakers a chance to speak directly to constituents in their districts, through our local stations. On many weeks, more than two dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers participate in these direct interchanges with our stations in their respective districts. Some lawmakers choose not to participate—which is their option—but all lawmakers, regardless of party, are invited. In the spirit of this highly successful Sinclair project, we reached out to both the Trump and Clinton campaigns in the summer of 2016, offering both candidates—and their surrogates— the chance to speak repeatedly, and directly, to local news viewers, in our Sinclair markets. The Trump campaign responded favorably to the opportunity and, as such, received more direct interaction with our viewers. The Clinton campaign, despite our repeated, documented attempts to arrange such interviews, participated at a much lower level; never once providing the candidate herself for an appearance on a Sinclair station.
— The Chairman of the Ethics Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists reviewed the Sinclair outreach to both campaigns and stated, in part, in December 2016, “After hearing from Sinclair’s representatives and viewing emails between the company and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I don’t believe the interview arrangements fell outside what would be considered ethical journalism.”
Honestly, most of the Sinclair critics don’t seem to do their own original reporting. Do you ever notice that a story written about Sinclair from a west coast publication will include a lot of the same talking points—often the same wording— as a story written a week earlier on the east coast? These reporters aren’t producing original journalism; they are aggregating often-flawed-reporting-content published by other media outlets, without fact checking it—or calling us to confirm any of it. By contrast, we have hundreds and hundreds of journalists in Sinclair, who go into the field each day, conduct their own original interviews –face-to-face—and create truly original content for our their local audiences. Your original reporting is our core strength. It’s why we are growing and our critics are increasingly becoming obsolete. It’s why surveys show news consumers trust you more than they trust the bloggers.
When a dozen or more local news stations are given a scripted commentary, whether it is from management or from corporate sponsors, they should at the very least be informing their viewers it is a “message” from (insert corporate sponsor or the word “management”) to provide full transparency to their audience, but the larger issue is optics, whether in video format as the Conan clips, or the DeadSpin clip from Sinclair’s, or the screenshots from search engine searches which shows coordinated and scripted headlines across the MSM.
It looks bad optically, like no one is doing any original reporting, no original headlines, and appears they are not even attempting to find an “angle” to call their own so that there is something original even if it is just a connection no one else is making, or a “bigger picture” that others are ignoring.
No one is saying a big story or breaking news shouldn’t be reported just because others are reporting on it, but to “see” or “hear” exact phrasing or wording from dozens of sources in headlines or commentary, with nothing new added, is one of the reasons that Americans are getting their news from sources other than the MSM with increasing frequency.
Read more at AllNewsPipeline.com