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Sinclair asks news directors to donate to political action committee

Sinclair asks news directors to donate to political action committee
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Sinclair Broadcast Group is asking top executives, including news directors, to make donations to its political action committee, an unusual move that is raising concerns among media ethics experts.

The broadcast company is asking that the gifts be made to the Sinclair PAC to fight deregulation efforts, and uphold a Federal Communications Commission rule that allows media corporations to buy more stations, according to The Washington Post.

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"Please take the time to evaluate the importance that the Sinclair PAC can have towards benefiting our company and the needs of the industry as a whole,” reads the solicitation letter from David Amy, the vice chairman of Sinclair and chairman of the PAC.

Sinclair pushed back against concerns about the request, noting that it was only sent to managers in newsrooms and not to lower level staffers like reporters and anchors.

“Participation is completely voluntary. There is no corporate pressure to participate and no consequence for not participating. It doesn’t put them in any ethical bind whatsoever,” Sinclair’s vice president of strategy and policy Rebecca Hanson told the Post.

However, the move breaks with the rules set in most major newsrooms, which ban journalists from making political contributions or to give to their companies’ PACs to help prevent a perception of bias in reporting.

Media ethics experts slammed the request to the Post, with one journalism professor saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this. They certainly have the right to do it, but it’s blatantly unethical.”

Sinclair has come under scrutiny for reportedly ordering local stations to run stories favorable of President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban MORE. The network is known for featuring top conservatives, and hired former Trump spokesman Boris Epshteyn last year.