The segments, which are centrally produced by the company, arrive every day at the television stations. Station managers are required to work them into a broadcast over a 24 or 48 hour period, the report said.
The most recent “must run” features the company’s vice president of news, Scott Livingston, discussing “fake news stories.”
Sinclair currently owns 173 stations across the country. The company recently announced plans to acquire Tribune Media, which would add 42 stations to the roster. Advocacy groups have expressed concern about company’s size and reach.
According to the Times:
Critics of the deal also cite Sinclair’s willingness to use its stations to advance a mostly right-leaning agenda. That practice has stirred wariness among some of its journalists concerned about intrusive direction from headquarters.
That is what has happened in Seattle, a progressive city where Sinclair owns the KOMO broadcast station. In interviews over the past several days, eight current and former KOMO employees described a newsroom where some have chafed at Sinclair’s programming directives, especially the must-runs, which they view as too politically tilted and occasionally of poor quality. They also cited features like a daily poll, which they believe sometimes asks leading questions.
Livingston spoke with the Times on Thursday about the recent “must run”. He said “he thought it was important to run the segment to ensure viewers understood the company’s commitment to tell the truth.”