Sinclair producer resigns in protest
The producer of a morning show at a Sinclair-owned station in Nebraska has resigned in protest of the network’s “obvious bias,” CNN reported Wednesday.
Justin Simmons, a producer at KHGI-TV, gave his notice at the station on March 26 — days before a supercut of Sinclair local anchors reading the same speech about media bias went viral. He cited the station’s “obvious bias” in his decision to leave.
Simmons said he had concerns about the broadcast networks’ mandated segments over the past 18 months, and that the required message warning against “fake news” pushed him to resign.
Simmons wrote in his resignation letter that he was mandated to air “several segments that have made me uncomfortable,” noting “the news media bashing promo our local anchors have been required to read.”
“Making the local anchors do this was a big concern for me,” Simmons said. “I didn’t go into news to give people biased information.”
“Resigning seemed like the least I could do,” he added. “I wish there was more.”
The producer said he had joined the station about four years ago, when it was owned by a different company. But Sinclair acquired the station in 2015 when the previous owner went bankrupt.
Simmons said he was required to air “must-run” segments like “Terrorism Alert Desk,” a hawkish segment about supposed security threats.
He told CNN that, after executives noticed that he wasn’t running all of those mandatory segments during the morning show, “my boss got in trouble.”
Simmons said he had proposed leaving the station on April 20, but was placed on paid leave when he told his boss that he was speaking to the news network.
The anti-media bias segments the network required anchors to read went viral after Deadspin created a supercut of the segments. The promos have since gained national attention and scrutiny, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked the network if they mandated local anchors to read the message.
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