Durbin demands answers from Sinclair chief about ‘mandated content’ for local news anchors

Durbin demands answers from Sinclair chief about ‘mandated content’ for local news anchors
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Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations MORE (D-Ill.) is asking Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation to reveal whether they mandated local news reporters deliver scripted promotional messages on-air or face punishment for refusing.

Sinclair, the largest television station operator in the United States, is requiring anchors on its local stations read from a corporate script that blasts national media for "using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think" while emphasizing that "truth is neither politically 'left or right.'"

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Durbin, in a letter sent to a top Sinclair executive on Wednesday, warned that "this practice not only compromises the ability of local reporters to serve the unique interests of their viewers, but it undercuts the journalistic integrity of local news anchors who are required to deliver corporate-scripted messages, at times without providing a disclaimer of their source.”

According to Durbin, the corporate messages that Sinclair reportedly instructed journalists at its member stations to read “exactly as they are written" also contradict November 2017 claims by Sinclair executives to his office that the company never mandates specific content and always identifies sources.

The senator asked Sinclair executive chairman David Smith to provide him with a statement of the company's policies regarding "Sinclair-produced mandated content for local news anchors."

"Further, please clarify whether there will be employment consequences for personnel at local stations who refuse to deliver the scripted promotional message," Durbin wrote.

Sinclair is known for frequently featuring conservative commentators during their programming. President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE voiced his support of the company this week, backing its claim of widespread bias in mainstream news outlets.