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Former Sinclair producer: 'If I don’t take a stand, I figured, who will?'

Former Sinclair producer: 'If I don’t take a stand, I figured, who will?'
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A former producer at a Sinclair-owned television station said in an op-ed Tuesday that he felt he needed to take a stand and resign over anti-media bias promos.

Justin Simmons — who worked for KHGI-TV in Nebraska — wrote in The Washington Post that he resigned after learning about the promos Sinclair was requiring its anchors to read.

"I was concerned because Sinclair’s support for the Trump administration made the claims about 'irresponsible, one-sided news' look like projection," he wrote.

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"It also appeared to echo President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems add five candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ program White House notifies Russia that no new sanctions are coming: report Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug MORE’s rhetoric on 'fake news.'"

He also said he reached out to his superiors asked them to fight the mandate to air the messages.

"I was told it would be a losing battle and to 'not bite the hand that feeds me.' At this point, I wasn’t sure what else I could do. My plan was to just not run it — at least then I would still have my integrity," he wrote.

"But I was put in a tough spot because my boss said his job would be at risk, not mine. This made me angry. I resigned and decided to go public about it. If I don’t take a stand, I figured, who will?"

Simmons added that his co-workers were also uncomfortable with the promos, but were unable to make the same decision to resign due to strict contracts with penalties.

"For lifelong journalists who have spent their career establishing trust with their viewers, Sinclair’s message created a bigger challenge, but what choice did they have? I did what few others within Sinclair could do," he wrote.

"Hundreds of local stations and news anchors who work for Sinclair put their trust and journalistic integrity on the line every day, and Sinclair is actively working to undermine it."

Sinclair has been facing controversy in recent days since a clip of Sinclair local anchors reading the same speech about media bias went viral. 

Critics have slammed the segment, saying it disparages the media.

Sinclair officials have defended the promo, with an executive saying the decision to air it was part of the company's "commitment to our communities." The executive said the promo was "focused on fact-based reporting" and a "well-researched journalistic initiative."

Trump also weighed in on the debate earlier this month, defending Sinclair for its reporting.