CORRECTED: Idaho Sinclair station aired anti-'fake news' warning

CORRECTED: Idaho Sinclair station aired anti-'fake news' warning
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Sinclair Broadcast Group TV stations in Idaho reportedly aired the mandatory “fake news” warning being read at other Sinclair outlets across the country despite an earlier report that they had refused.

The Spokesman-Review reported Thursday that KLEW, KLEW-2 and KLEW-3 were not airing the controversial scripted segment denouncing “fake news” and slamming the national media that was mandated by the conservative national broadcasting chain. But the article was later corrected to indicate that they did air the segments last month.

An official from KLEW declined to speak on the record with The Hill.


“Our agenda is to serve our communities by sharing relevant information to alert, protect and empower our audiences,” KLEW General Manager David Praga told the Spokesman-Review. “[Our reporters] are committed to producing the best, most informative and accurate content for our viewers.”

WMSN/FOX47, a Sinclair station in Madison, Wis., did refuse to air the segment. 

Individual Sinclair employees have also taken a stand against the message, including two news anchors in Oregon.

One producer at a Sinclair station in Nebraska resigned on March 26 over the network’s “obvious bias.”

A union representing some Sinclair employees issued a memo on Wednesday defending the news anchors who chose not to read the message.

“We stand with our members and journalists everywhere in challenging corporate directives that call into question the journalistic integrity of the news presented to the public,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement.

Anchors have said it was “awful” having to record the mandatory promos, and a former news director calls the segment “proof-of-life hostage videos.

Company chairman David Smith ripped the criticism of the segment in an email exchange with The New York Times, saying the “must-run” directives are a standard practice in the industry.

“You cant be serious!” Smith wrote. “Do you understand that as a practical matter every word that comes out of the mouths of network news people is scripted and approved by someone?”

Senior Vice President of News Scott Livingston wrote an internal memo pushing back at critics who accused the company of pushing pro-Trump propaganda.

"The critics are now upset about our well-researched journalistic initiative focused on fair and objective reporting,” Livingston wrote.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE also defended Sinclair on Monday, saying the broadcast company is “far superior” to networks such as CNN or NBC.

"So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased," Trump tweeted. "Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke."

—Updated at 5:04 p.m. Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the KLEW stations refused to air Sinclair's mandated segment.