Regarding the April 3 Style article “Sinclair’s TV promo has a fan: Trump”:
News anchors at Sinclair stations across the country read the same script about fake news. The company requires its stations to air conservative commentary, but this time it was different: The news anchors, not outside pundits, had to do the commentary.
Sinclair again has shown how corporate control of local news can be dangerous for democracy.
But this outing of Sinclair doesn’t harm democracy; it’s good for it.
Most media consumers lack a fundamental understanding of how news is made. They don’t know the decisions that go into producing a newscast: which stories air, for how long and their order in a newscast. As this Sinclair situation shows, viewers don’t know who owns their local stations and what that means for the news they watch.
Journalists at Sinclair stations have been forced to run right-leaning segments for years. If viewers didn’t notice the “must-run” segments before, they either weren’t paying attention or didn’t have the skills to differentiate news from opinion.
Something productive has come from the publicity of Sinclair’s latest stunt in that consumers now know to be critical of the news they consume. Not just who’s making it but what issues are covered or ignored and whose voice is represented or missing.
Consumers critically examining news for bias and balance hold journalists accountable for their work, and that can only be good for democracy.
Kellie Stanfield, Salisbury, Md.