UPDATED: WJAR-10/Sinclair Controversy Blows Up — Morning Joe Criticizes and Trump Defends Co.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018


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Morning Joe host blasted Sinclair and their journalists while Trump Tweeted a defense of the company

The controversy over the pro-Trump scripted news promotion read in Providence on air by Frank Coletta and Alison Bologna and other Sinclair Broadcasting news staff across the country has dominated the media and the White House on Monday.

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" political talk show focused on the revelations of the pro-Trump script being read across the country. Sinclair owns 200 stations across the United States.

Mika Brzezinski, co-host of Morning Joe, said the journalists had a responsibility not to be a part of the scripted messaging.

New York Times political reporter Nicholas Confessore also criticized Sinclair and the on-air reporters.

But just as "Morning Joe" was ending at 9:00 AM, President Donald Trump was gearing up to defend Sinclair and to rip NBC and CNN.

Trump's Morning Tweet Defends Sinclair

Sinclair Issued a Statement on Monday Afternoon:

Sinclair Responds to Unfounded Media Criticism

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. today responded to a series of media reports attacking the Company’s recent promotional announcement for its local news. These announcements were responding to the public’s distrust in news generally, confirmed just today by this Monmouth University poll https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_us_040218, and spoke to our commitment to avoid such inaccurate reporting. The promos served no political agenda, and represented nothing more than an effort to differentiate our award-winning news programming from other, less reliable sources of information.

“We aren’t sure of the motivation for the criticism, but find it curious that we would be attacked for asking our news people to remind their audiences that unsubstantiated stories exist on social media, which result in an ill-informed public with potentially dangerous consequences,” commented Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s Senior Vice President of News. “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. Our local stations keep our audiences’ trust by staying focused on fact-based reporting and clearly identifying commentary.” 

GoLocal reported early on Monday morning:

Media experts across the country are voicing horror about WJAR’s parent company — Sinclair Broadcasting — having its news anchors and reporters across the country voiceover a corporate message that sounds much like language often used by President Donald Trump.

In Providence, this carefully crafted message was read in the Rhode Island market by WJAR’s Frank Coletta and Alison Bologna. 

Sinclair, who owns 200 local stations across the country has close tied to the to Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. As reported in December of 2016, “Politico is reporting that Sinclair Broadcasting made a deal with the Trump campaign for better access. This is not the first time that WJAR's parent company has been tied to pushing a conservative agenda. 'Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks,” reported Politico, of remarks made by Trump's son-in-law, who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka."

The disclosure of Sinclair’s mandate scripting was first unveiled by CNN and the above video was created by Deadspin. Here is how news organizations and media experts reacted to the disclosure of the "pro-Trump" Sinclair mandate.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally was published 4/2/18 10:49 AM. It is updated on Monday evening to include the Sinclair statement.


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