All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
~George Orwell, Animal Farm
Our latest visit to Room 101 (from Orwell’s 1984) comes to us, courtesy of those fine folks at Sinclair Broadcasting:
Sinclair allows critical ad to air, sandwiched between its defense
Brian Stelter / CNNMoney
Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to air a commercial from a liberal consumer watchdog that’s critical of the broadcaster’s actions. But there’s a catch. The company is running its own message right before and after the ad. So viewers are seeing a 15-second defense of Sinclair, then 30 seconds of criticism, then another 15-second defense….
Yes, chilluns. I have never seen this kind of immature and demagogic behavior in my six decades plus, but perhaps, in some backwater of Utah or Texas or Arizona it transpired. Still, consider: they’re going to take the money, but then they’re going to UTTERLY repudiate the ad, because, as they say in their “defense”: This station, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, is proud to present both sides of issues.
Yes. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Allied Progress “a liberal consumer watchdog group” did a “six figure” ad buy to place an ad questioning the Orwellian command of Sinclair to read their “fake news” infotorial on their multiple stations. (The one that’s gone viral, with the hilariously ironic “this is extremely dangerous to our democracy” line*)
The thirty second spot asks viewers to call the FCC to stop the Sinclair “merger” wherein they will buy up Tribune Media’s TV station portfolio. It questions the propriety of the Sinclair’ Corporate HQ’s editorial meddling with its “local” news.
(Much false equivalency has been devoted to normalizing this Stalinesque behavior. I leave it to the thoughtful reader to divine WHY it’s simply spin-and-BS for our Orwellian masters.)
Here is the “wrapper” that Sinclair is running around the ad:
This station, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, is proud to present both sides of issues. For that reason, we have agreed to air the commercial you are about to see, opposing Sinclair’s acquisition of additional television stations. We think the ad is misleading, but wanted to let you decide. Thank you.
The ad from Allied Progress runs.
Sinclair owns this station and nearly 200 others. It forced dozens of anchors to recite the same political message, word for word. Now Sinclair is trying to control local news stations in 72% of American homes. Tell the FCC to stop the Sinclair merger.
The well, having already been spiked by Sinclair now bookends the ad with their “WE MUST HAVE THE LAST WORD” mania, belying the “proud to present both sides of issues” nonsense for the self-serving hogwash that it actually is.
The misleading ad you just saw focused on a brief promotional message that simply said we’re a source for truthful news. It ignored thousands of hours of local news we produce each year to keep you informed. The ad was purchased by a group known for its liberal bias, and we hope you won’t buy into the hysteria and hype.
That’s not presenting “both sides.” That’s having the first word, the last word, and all but interrupting the words in-between. It is not fair, it is not decorous, couth or decent.
Here is one of the ads with Sinclair’s ‘envelope’
Worse, it exposes the extreme CONSERVATIVE (?!?!?) bias of Sinclair in its frivolous accusation that their opponents have that evil old “liberal bias” and are hysterical and hyping.
In other words, “we are real fair guys, so we’s are presentin’ this liberal bias hype and hysteria to show youse what reel good journalist reportin’ newsguys we all are, and how come they’re SLAMMING all our good local news?!??”
Now, think about that for a second: first they literally STEAL the “goodwill” (look it up, it’s an actual business asset, in law) of their local anchors (involuntarily converted to Sinclair’s yoke without their permission or, to an extent, as covered earlier this week on this little blog, their voluntary acquiescence). They owe their souls to the company store, t’would seem. And the company store now USES those selfsame souls to grease the skids of their “fake news” screed and THEN to rebut the ad protesting what they’re doing.
There is something Orwellian, Machiavellian, even SATANIC in this kind of propaganda — “propaganda” because by no stretch of the imagination can it be called “news” or even “public commentary.” It is slithery, sleazy and slimy. It is vile, vituperative and vicious. It is, in short, Sinclair.
Allied OUGHT to demand their money back. And Sinclair OUGHT to be forced to give it back. No station that I can ever recall so meanly and openly stomped on a paid advertisement before.
Kind of like a hooker taking your money and then blowing a rape whistle to get the cops to take you in for offering money to a prostitute.
And then expecting not to accompany you in the same paddy wagon.
Hi, I’m [name] with [station]. Our greatest responsibility is to serve our communities. I am extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [station] produces, but I’m concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.
The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.
At [station], it is our responsibility to report and pursue the truth. We understand the truth is neither politically left nor right. Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility now more than ever. But we are human, and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair, please reach out through our [station] website by clicking on “Content Concerns.” We value your comments and we will respond back to you.
We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced, and factual. We consider it our honor and privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day. Thank you for watching, and we appreciate your feedback.
Right here in my home town …