Wednesday, April 04, 2018

KOMO TV 4 Seattle-- In Turmoil Over Conservative Owners' Message

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The Seattle Times reported yesterday that Seattle's KOMO TV 4---and KOMO radio stations--are in "turmoil" over the conservative owners who are giving them "must run" news pieces they are required to air during their newscasts.

The Times says the problem is that the news pieces "tilt heavily to the right on the political spectrum."

Newsweek is reporting that employees of Sinclair owned TV stations across the nation are fed up with their owners trying to get a conservative message on their stations, and some of their employees are joining a boycott of the station they work for.

Sinclair owns several stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

The Seattle Times said yesterday, "Sinclair, the nation's biggest owner of local TV news stations, has for several years required KOMO and many stations across the country to air 'must run' news stories and commentaries produced by Sinclair that tilt heavily to the right on political issues."

The Times calls KOMO TV "a newsroom in turmoil."

"Several KOMO employees," according to the Times, "have met to discuss a protest when word came down last month about the 'fake news' transcript...To many, it looked like talking points from the Trump administration."

Newsrooms would certainly recognize talking points from an administration from their years of parroting the edicts of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

However, the Times notes, concerned journalists at KOMO (and probably elsewhere) face a quandary: "Quit now---which could result in huge financial penalties for breaking their contracts---or make plans to move on as soon as their deals end."

Apparently. tensions escalated at a KOMO newsroom meeting Monday afternoon when staffers pushed back against the corporate demands to read and air the "must run" piece about "fake news"---fake news that is often reported as true by these same people.

In the past, KOMO has been "burying" the conservative news item late at night when viewership was lowest. They have also buried them in between commercials which caused the piece to appear as something other than news.

Sinclair got on to what they were doing and has now mandated, in some cases, that a piece run "during the 6 o'clock news."

While these journalists are digging in against their owners, Sinclair is also digging in. The company has invested billions of dollars in acquiring more than 190 stations spanning coast to coast.

They believe they have a right to insert brief conservative news items into their format. Their employees, who regularly insert Left to far-Left leaning news items, spin news stories toward the secular Left agenda, or simply decline to report conservative news items, feel the company does not have a right to do so.

NEWSWEEK reports, "Public outrage toward Sinclair Broadcast Group peaked over the weekend, culminating with the creation of a viral hashtag urging viewers to boycott the media behemoth's TV news stations. The latest uproar came after a video emerged showing dozens of Sinclair news anchors giving identical scripted spiels against 'biased and false news' and dishonesty in the mainstream media."

Take a deep breath, then exhale.

It has been so well documented that people hardly question the bias of the news media in America. Particularly TV news. They are bias toward the Left every time. And, everybody knows it.

The same news anchors who are traumatized at the notion they would be asked by their employer to read a one minute piece that addresses "fake news" is laughable, because they regularly incorporate the talking points of the far Left, the Democratic Party, and every other far-Left organization that is active on any given day.

Newsweek quotes Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism Professor Samuel Freedman who is also terrified that the news industry will be sullied by any conservative thread in the fabric. He says, "Sinclair is going way beyond the norm to dictate a branding strategy that is also a political platform."

Broadcasting biased Left "news" is their norm and anything that challenges it is evil and concerning. Freedman says, "It's basically cloning the Fox model of being a media company that bashes traditional reportorial journalism."

It's true that biased Left news reporting has become a tradition.

Freedman adds that he is despaired for the "fine, principled journalists" who must adhere to the company's policies or risk termination.

It's interesting that such a small dose of conservatism can create so much anxiety and distress among some progressive journalists.

To Seattle Times' credit, they also reported that not all KOMO employees are offended by this matter, and they report that some employees said it is rare to get a content directive from corporate.

Part of why the Left is so traumatized is that Sinclair owns about 190 stations and is continuing to acquire more. This is a link to the map of which stations they own and where they are located.

In Washington, they own or contractually manage Seattle's KOMO TV, KOMO radio AM and FM, KVI 570, radio and KPLZ 101.5 FM radio, which is a music station. They also have KIMA TV 29 in Yakima, KLEW in Lewiston, and KEPR in the Tri Cities.

In addition, Sinclair is awaiting FCC approval on their purchase of Tribune Media, which owns Q13 Fox TV in the Seattle market. When approved this will expand their coverage by several dozen additional stations.

Looking at the map, it appears the company already reaches about 50% to 70% of the households in America.

Therein is the problem for the Left.

Newsweek and other print and Internet news organizations are promoting a boycott of Sinclair nationwide. Some employees of Sinclair are joining the boycott. #BoycottSinclair.

Media Research Council (MRC) has published "Media Bias 101" which summarizes decades of survey research showing just how bias journalists are, how they vote, what they think, and what the public thinks about their reporting. And what journalists say about media bias.

I agree with President Trump who tweeted this week, "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."

I also agree with Walter Cronkite, a journalist who kept his far-Left liberalism out of sight until he retired: "Journalism is what we need to make democracy work."

However: Journalism has become activism---and when the activists feel intruded upon, even by a little truth, they become traumatized.

Ben Franklin, himself a journalist of sorts, said, "Honesty is the best policy."

Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.