SBG Responds to Media Comments NBC10 isn’t commenting on the national uproar over its parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, forcing local anchors – including their own Frank Coletta and Allison Bologna – to read statements denouncing “false news” and “fake stories.”
Instead, the Rhode Island television station forwarded a statement from corporate communications.
“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,” said the statement from Sinclair.
Corporate editorial mandates on locally-managed news organizations are highly uncommon, and an obvious cause for public concern. And, because Sinclair ownership is decidedly pro-Trump, the mandated segment was seen as offering support for the president’s attempts to undercut journalism in particular and facts in general.
The segments became a flashpoint after Deadspin created a mashup video of news anchors across the country at Sinclair-owned stations, including Coletta, reading verbatim a mandated editorial that Sinclair called a “promotional announcement.”
While NBC10 management chose not to comment, at least one Rhode Island news executive did. “To see Sinclair’s anchors attacking other journalists — those who really do seek to be fair in their reporting and balanced in their writing — is to witness partisanship trying to sow the seeds of journalism’s destruction,” he said in a front page Providence Journal news story on the issue.
All over Rhode Island – or at least all over my Twitter feed – consumers are turning the channel on the once-revered station. At least one person suggested targeting NBC10’s FCC license, which comes up for renewal in 2023.
— Shawn Schillberg (@shawnps00) April 2, 2018
Don’t watch any Sinclair owned news channels. Let the ratings and advertisers decide who stays on the air.
— Juan (@JLedesmaNATCA) April 2, 2018
— Julie Kliever (@jfkliev) April 2, 2018