Sinclair Broadcast has reportedly been sending “must-run” right-leaning news segments to its stations, to the dismay of some of its stations’ staff members.
According to the New York Times, Sinclair stations like KOMO in Seattle, Washington took exception to the “must-runs” and other news programming directives handed down from Sinclair’s corporate office. The staff members interviewed for the story said they would air the segments during less-viewed dayparts.
Segments described in the report include “Terrorism Alert Desk,” which provides updates on global terrorist attacks, and other segments which urged Americans not to vote for Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party historically supports slavery.
This would not be the first time Sinclair has been accused of favoring right-leaning or conservative politics in its coverage, but the station group has steadfastly insisted that it works hard to present balanced coverage.
Last year, when a report accused Sinclair of offering President Donald Trump straighter coverage in return for access to his presidential campaign, Sinclair insisted that it offered equal air time to both Trump’s and Clinton’s campaigns and that Clinton’s campaign did not take up Sinclair on its offer.
Earlier this year, Sinclair Broadcast Group hired Boris Epshteyn, who previously served as special assistant and campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, as its new chief political analyst.
“Over a year ago, we made a commitment to provide additional political content that goes beyond the podium to provide a true point of difference with additional context,” said Scott Livingston, vice president of news for Sinclair Television Group, in a statement. “We understand the frustration with government and traditional institutions. Mr. Epshteyn brings a unique perspective to the political conversation and will play a pivotal role in our mission to dissect the stories in the headlines and to better inform and empower our viewers.”
Of course, questions about Sinclair’s news coverage and any potential bias it may carry are coming into sharper focus as the broadcaster pursues a $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, a deal which would make Sinclair broadcast media conglomerate on the scale of major broadcast networks like FOX.