Freedom of the Press … Abused!!!

Turn on the television, grab your coffee and cozy up to watch the news before bedtime.  Thanks to the U.S. Constitution and the 1st Amendment of said document, you can be assured that your favourite newscasters are free to bring you a relatively fact-based newscast and you will come away informed and enlightened, right?  Well, guess what, folks … we have, once again, been duped.  By whom, you ask?  That is a question with more than one answer, but let us start with the nefarious campaign to elect Donald Trump in 2016.  And from there, we move on to the nation’s largest operator of local television stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, operating 193 stations in over 100 cities.

What links the Trump campaign and Sinclair?  According to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the campaign and Sinclair struck a deal whereby Sinclair would be given extended access to Trump in exchange for Sinclair-owned stations broadcasting all speeches by Trump sans commentary.  In other words, unlike CNN and others, no criticism allowed.  In and of itself, this may not seem like such a big deal, but …

One of Sinclair’s stations, an ABC-affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle, Washington, tells us Sinclair is forcing its reporters to air pre-scripted segments about fake news media, in an attempt to undermine non-Sinclair stations.  Below is the script that was sent to all stations to be read on air:

Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News 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 KOMO 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.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.

Some of it actually sounds fair, sounds like the right thing to say, but it gives the appearance that they and only they are the ones trying to provide honest and unbiased reporting.  Knowing that they have an agreement to present Trump and his agenda in a most favourable light makes me question their actual intent. We have all asked ourselves how it is that the 37% or so that still say Trump is doing a good job can actually believe it.  I have put forth a number of theories over the past year or more, ranging from lack of education, apathy, selfishness, ignorance, etc.  But in light of this story, I have done some thinking.  I have sufficient time to spend several hours a day trolling the news, checking and double checking to make sure I understand and have the facts straight.  But most people don’t have that luxury.  When I still worked 10-12 hour days, I didn’t have time.  At 11:00 each night, I watched the news on my local station and really had no choice but to rely on them to give me correct facts and tell me what I needed to know.  That was all the time I could spare, that half-hour.  The vast majority of people are in that boat today, and what they are being fed is not always the truth, not always unbiased.  I have always known Fox News was biased, leaned heavily conservative … how could it be otherwise with Rupert Murdoch at the helm.  But I’ve long had a fair amount of trust in the “Big Three” – ABC, NBC, CBS.  I now know that trust was misplaced. Of the stations owned by Sinclair, 33 are ABC affiliates, 27 are CBS, and 22 are NBC.  43 are Fox affiliates.  You can find which of your local stations are owned by Sinclair here.

Sinclair regularly runs disinformation segments favorable to President Trump and packaged as actual political analysis and news coverage. Sinclair is currently awaiting approval on its proposed purchase of Tribune Media, which owns or operates 42 broadcast television stations in 33 markets, according to its official FCC filing. If the purchase is approved, Sinclair will be able to broadcast to at least 70 percent of American households.

Take a look at this John Oliver clip addressing Sinclair and it’s schemes:

The Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but it does not guarantee that the press will operate with integrity.  It is up to We The People to hold the media outlets accountable, to find ways to verify, to confirm what they tell us, and to call them out when they get it wrong, ultimately finding other sources if amends and changes are not made.  WE are the customers and WE must demand they provide unbiased, straight journalism. With Trump’s handpicked Ajit Pai serving as director of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), we can no longer afford to wait for the FCC to deal with this situation, as they once would have.  Today, with the Internet, we have a vast amount of information literally at our fingertips, but sometimes there is so much that it is difficult to know what to believe.  I find it unconscionable that any media outlet would be willing to support the agenda of a single political group or individual to the exclusion of others.  They are letting us down and frankly they are making a mockery of the 1st amendment.

13 thoughts on “Freedom of the Press … Abused!!!

  1. Dear Jill,

    You are so right. Who but a few of us who are always perusing various news items, know how to ferret out what’s real and not.

    Just recently, I was at Barnes and Nobles where a young person was using Facebook on her computer. She asked her friend if the story about how the survivor/ activist Emma Gonzalez had bullied the Parkland high school mass shooter for yrs. I couldn’t stand it. I got up and showed them how they need to fact check any story on Facebook and how just because they read something on this social media web site, does not make it true. Fortunately, Snopes.com had already fact checked this lie.

    Now we are going to have to keep track of which local stations are Sinclair owned.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Like

  2. Oh well there’s your first problem in that quote! The schools aren’t doing a good job of teaching kids to read these days!!! I’m going to have to pass this information around. Have half a mind to write to KUTV in Salt Lake and ask them whether they run that crap or not…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, that our education system is no longer focused on teaching young people how to reason, how to think for themselves. But if we can no longer even trust our free press, the very press whose freedom we all work so hard to keep, then I don’t know how we keep from living in this alternate universe. Sometimes I really long for ol’ Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One also might consider how the media, MSM, develops the narrative no matter what. Also, there are the “D” notices. For which in the UK, at least. The government control what the MSM is allowed to publish. Hence the plethora of lost dog stories and such. When people are being murdered by Saudis in Yemen, for example. I fully expect all countries have those “D” notices? I just try to limit my exposure. That’s why I prefer alternative news sites. Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well … in theory, I agree with the D-notices, for there are certain things related to national security that should NOT be broadcast to the entire world. Do I assume that it is sometimes abused? Yes, probably. But still, I think that in certain cases it is essential. How much is it abused? I don’t know about other countries, but I think that probably the abuse is minimal in your country and mine. Much of the reason we don’t see the stories about abuses taking place in Yemen, and other areas in the third world, is … people are largely disinterested, and the media is, after all, for-profit, so they are going to run with what people clamour for, and if that’s lost dog stories … so be it. Cheers!!!

      Like

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Think you are getting “FAKE NEWS” as they like to say … remember this name: SINCLAIR Broadcast Group!
    ‘Sinclair regularly runs disinformation segments favorable to Drumpf and packaged as actual political analysis and news coverage. Sinclair is currently awaiting approval on its proposed purchase of Tribune Media, which owns or operates 42 broadcast television stations in 33 markets, according to its official FCC filing. If the purchase is approved, Sinclair will be able to broadcast to at least 70 percent of American households.’
    BEWARE!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jill, thanks for posting this. Sinclair is even more dangerous than Fox as it sneaks up on people to sway them. It is more like the Putin model of planting articles and thoughts via RT. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree fully! People … well, most people … assume these stations are not biased in the same way as Fox, but the reality is … who do we trust? My local news, the one I watch usually, is owned by Scripps … I wonder, if I dig deep, what I will find about them? Sigh.

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      • Jill, the saving grace is most people tune into local news for the weather, which is usually 25% of the broadcast. Breaking news here is typically a shooting or car accident. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • I almost never watch television, but am signed up for “breaking news” alerts by WCPO, the station I watch when I do watch local news. Lately, I must question their definition of “breaking news”, for if a ball player is traded, it is breaking news. If a city councilwoman resigns, it is breaking news. If the mayor is going out of town, it is breaking news. And that, of course, means that I see a breaking news alert and simply shrug my shoulders. Half of them I don’t even look at. So, one night not too long ago, I was unaware that we had a tornado watch for several hours, and when i checked, I had about a dozen emails about it. Common sense … ???

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  6. This is horrific Jill. I have shared it with some local friends who were all working in local news media till it changed beneath their feet. We were just talking the other day about how poor the quality of our local news mostly is now, especially newspapers where they all worked. This demands not just marches but a reversal of what I am told was the Reagan (?) decision to end the requirement for news to be balanced. Though fat chance under the current regime of course.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ahhh yes … long story there, but the FCC and Reagan apparently believed that the ruling, the Fairness Doctrine, gave government too much ability to interfere in the free press. No, I don’t look for its reinstatement any time soon, if ever, and some claim that its revocation has contributed to the current polarization that we see today. I would be inclined to agree with that. And now, a new concern … Trump is trying to insist that The Washington Post, one of the oldest and, in my opinion, most trustworthy sources (though not without faults), be forced to register as a ‘lobbyist’. Which, of course, is ludicrous, but then so are most things he is doing. As the tensions rise for him over the Russian investigation, he feels a greater than ever need to deflect and detract, so he is making such willy-nilly threats as the one about WaPo, threatening to pull out of Syria, and threatening to pull out of NAFTA, which would hurt the U.S. more than either Canada or Mexico! But first, we must guarantee that media outlets be able to keep us informed. Period.

      Liked by 1 person

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