Former Sinclair anchor: Scripted segments 'not good for America'

A former anchor for a Sinclair Broadcast Group TV station in Baltimore said Monday that the company’s mandate for on-air talent to read scripted segments warning of media bias is “not good for America.” 

Kirk Clyatt told MSNBC that local affiliates have been forced to replace community stories with “these forced, must-run, lockstep with the Trump administration commentaries.” 

“You have these extreme commentaries coming from this station, a very cookie-cutter way that is certainly not good for America,” he said. 

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Clyatt said when he worked at a Sinclair station after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, anchors were asked to read a statement about how they supported then-President Bush’s war on terrorism.

News anchors at Sinclair stations across the country have read scripted segments in recent weeks in which they say that they are “concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country."

The promos also warn of an "extremely dangerous" threat to democracy.

Critics slammed the Sinclair promos after they went viral over the weekend via a compilation made by Deadspin.

Scott Livingston, Sinclair's senior vice president of news, wrote in an internal memo to company employees that the promos showed the stations' commitment to community news, and were intended to focus on unsubstantiated stories.

He brushed aside criticism, calling the segments a "well-researched journalistic initiative focused on fair and objective reporting."