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Fake news, corporate lies

Meredith Comas, Opinions Editor

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Sinclair Broadcast Group draws corporate news content into question


Until recently, many Americans went about watching their local news stations without a single indication of the corporate mandates handed down to them by one of the largest telecommunications groups you’ve never even heard of — Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

The not-so-secretly pro-Trump group, in conjunction with their pending — if approved by regulators — purchase, Tribune Media, is responsible for reaching almost 72 percent of American households. They have been a major influence in American broadcasting for years, but also have been quietly lurking in the shadows until their recent debacle in which every Sinclair-owned station aired their anchors performing a pre-scripted message denouncing “fake news.”

The message, aired on all 173 Sinclair-owned stations, took the American public by storm after the media group “Deadspin” released a video montage of the eerily similar messages from Sinclair groups played atop one another — proving the message was pre-scripted.

This would not be the first time this happened with Sinclair. A broadcast airing on June 27, 2017, showed a number of stations reading from a corporate-mandated script while introducing a segment on the Russia investigation with the Trump administration. A clearly conservative message, it went virtually unnoticed by the American public — possibly because Sinclair preyed on an unsuspecting public who assumed they were getting their local news, not a political agenda from Sinclair.

It is the agreement of The Mentor editorial board that this Sinclair take-over is, quite simply, bad news for Americans.

The Mentor acknowledges that corporations and companies are allowed to say what they want through their business, but, as a news company, you owe it to viewers to provide factual news, not propaganda.

The un-truthful depiction of the “anti-fake news” message is where we get the idea of it being propaganda. Sinclair advertised this message as individual statements from the station, rather than the reality: a “group-wide,” corporate effort.  Sinclair needs to be responsible for the validity of their news, not just releasing a pre-scripted statement that forces Americans to believe it is so.

Not only that, but this corporate consolidation of local news that Sinclair participates in sets a ton of Americans up to believe a certain agenda plagued with corporate biases without exposing consumers to more options. And while expanding business and doing what you want with your company is allowed through capitalist economy, it doesn’t make situations such as this morally right.

The main question is, though, how do we combat fake news and biases if we don’t always know it’s there? The answer is simple.

There is no way to get away from bias — even journalists are human, too. Understand that news stories are not necessarily all of the evidence or all of the facts, they are merely a summary of what is most important, not all of the raw information. No matter what issue, you need a broad-reach of news sources and evidence to try to understand all of the information.

If you can’t prove what’s true, prove what’s fake. Don’t try to script it as such instead of showing the evidence.


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Fake news, corporate lies