While in India the government is taking steps to tackle what they identify as fake news, a similar battle is being fought on all fronts, worldwide - including on behalf of the media as well as the populace and other social media networks.
It was hard to miss the corporate-mandated complaint about "the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-side news stories plaguing our country" last week on Local 12, and Sinclair Broadcast Group's 172 other TV stations nationwide. That was after 36 anchor teams filled Deadspin's screen to say that same exact phrase together on our public airwaves across the nation.
If the deal goes through, CW33 will become Dallas' outlet for Sinclair's national content, which purports to bring balance to the leftism that permeates the news media but plays a lot like a house organ for President Donald Trump. In the script, anchors around the country state that they are "concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible stories plaguing our country". The message decries false and misleading news. This is extremely risky to a democracy,"the script continues, concluding with a line urging the public to hold the station accountable, followed by a promise: "We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual..." While some people claimed that the entire newsroom "should walk out", another said, "Let them corrupt local TV news with mindless conservative conspiracies".
"So amusing to watch Fake News Networks. criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased", he tweeted. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke", said the President on Twitter.
Sinclair is in the midst of acquiring the Tribune Media Company. Here is a full list of Sinclair stations. While almost every Sinclair owned station has opted-out of responding directly, this morning the station in Madison, Wisconsin announced it did not air a recent Sinclair must-read script, saying it "stayed true to our commitment" to viewers.
KATV responded to a request for comment about how the station made the decision to participate by forwarding Sinclair Broadcasting Group's thoughts on the matter. A number of news websites, as well as HBO's John Oliver, said the promo sets the stage for Sinclair to inject its political views into local news.
(B) At KOMO it's our responsibility to pursue and report the truth.
"The critics are now upset about our well-researched journalistic initiative focused on fair and objective reporting", Livingston said in an internal memo on Monday, published by CNN. Sinclair stations also provided a friendly forum for Trump interviews during the campaign.
The promos are drawing scrutiny as Baltimore-based Sinclair, known for its conservative political leanings, already forces its local stations - including KLEW in Lewiston - to run right-leaning commentaries and news packages that are produced by the parent company. Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather described the script, apparently foisted on news anchors from management above, as "Orwellian".
Sinclair defended the "false news" promo.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short.