EDITORIAL: A ‘fake news’ warning misses the point of its central message


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Since the 2016 election, the term “fake news” has become daily terminology in referring to unfair, biased and inaccurate reporting. However, it has also been used by President Donald Trump and many others as a way to dismiss news stories that are either unflattering or offensive. While there certainly are issues of media bias affecting the country, general journalism ethics requires accuracy and truth. All journalists should care about truth and transparency.

When Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the largest owner of local television stations in the nation, sent out a script to its stations, demanding anchors read it as a promotional video speaking out against the plague of fake news.

Sinclair is already known for its right leaning views, and this corporate decision for a must-run segment led many of their local journalists to feel incredibly uncomfortable.

While this was not the first time the media company has delivered must-run content to its stations, it was the first time it asked local anchors to do the talking, which is eerie, as local citizens typically trust their respective news anchors.

“I feel bad because they’re seeing these people they’ve trusted for decades tell them things they know are essentially propaganda,” one local anchor told CNN Money.

After Deadspin created an eerie video of all the anchors reciting the same lines, the story broke and went viral, with Trump himself weighing in on Twitter.

“So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased,” Trump tweeted. “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”

In an effort to shine a shameful light on fake news across the country, Sinclair Broadcasting Group issued out a must-run script, feeding their journalists words to spit out to their publics.

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