With roughly 85 percent of Americans trusting their local news stations over their family or friends for news updates, Karr told Kiriakou that the majority of Sinclair viewers don't even know that their favorite channels are owned by the corporation. The company owns 193 stations including ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. The merger is now seeking regulatory approval from the FCC, which is reviewing whether the combined entity would have too much power. The deal would give Sinclair 215 stations covering over 72 percent of households.
The video was created by the website Deadspin, and the script included these statements: "The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media". More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories, stories that simply aren't true, without checking facts first. "And this is extremely unsafe to our democracy".
Now, this doesn't mean all reports from Sinclair stations are compromised.
The Deadspin compilation video - which shows clips of dozens of anchors reciting the same words - has circulated widely.
For Trump's critics, his tweet of the Sinclair Broadcasting shows bias toward a conservative-leaning agenda rather than the neutral/left-leaning input that news organizations provide to the public. On Monday, Trump tweeted, "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. Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver highlighted Sinclair in 2017, focusing on its "must runs", scripts or segments that the company's stations are ordered to air. Sinclair stations also provided a friendly forum for Trump interviews during the campaign.
Phocas Financial Corp. increased its holdings in Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (NASDAQ:SBGI) by 20.0% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
"It is ironic that we would be attacked for messages promoting our journalistic initiative for fair and objective reporting, and for specifically asking the public to hold our newsrooms accountable", said Sinclair senior vice president for news Scott Livingston, according to the press release. The content distributed through its broadcast platform consists of programming provided by third-party networks and syndicators, local news, it owns networks, and other original programming produced by it.
A TV anchor stares at the camera and recites a seemingly-benign script about the dangers of fake news and why her station prides itself on "quality, balanced journalism".
Democrat Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Monday that the requirement is "moving America one step closer to its own version of state-run media".