As the pressure from media critics and anonymous employees alike continues to skyrocket, Sinclair Broadcasting took a defensive angle on Monday. In a statement published to its website, the biggest owner of local news stations across the United States declared its targeted “promos served no political agenda, and represented nothing more than an effort to differentiate our award-winning news programming from other, less reliable sources of information.” Even so, it seems stations like WMSN in Madison, Wisconsin are taking a stand against the media conglomerate’s allegedly partisan strides.
In the statement, Sinclair Broadcasting’s Senior Vice President of News Scott Livingston said, “We aren’t sure of the motivation for the criticism, but find it curious that we would be attacked for asking our news people to remind their audiences that unsubstantiated stories exist on social media, which result in an ill-informed public with potentially dangerous consequences.” What’s more, he added, “It is ironic that we would be attacked for messages promoting our journalistic initiative for fair and objective reporting, and for specifically asking the public to hold our newsrooms accountable. Our local stations keep our audiences’ trust by staying focused on fact-based reporting and clearly identifying commentary.”
Despite Livingston’s claims, however, many employees at Sinclair Broadcasting-owned stations across the country are telling a decidedly different story about the parent company’s mandated political content. WMSN, otherwise known as FOX 47 in Madison, Wisconsin, took their disagreement with their owner’s marching orders one step further on Monday night, when they refused to air a promotional announcement. “WMSN/FOX47 Madison did not air the Sinclair promotional announcement during our 9pm news this weekend,” read a tweet from the station’s official Twitter account. “Rather, we stayed true to our commitment to provide our Madison area viewers local news, weather and sports of interest to them.”