Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

"The new scripted 'fake news' segment caused a lot of anguish where I work," one Sinclair journalist told the Huffington Post. (Screenshot: Deadspin.com)

Internal Memo Shows Sinclair Threatening Employees to Keep Mouths Shut About 'Must-Read' Scripts

"Everything Sinclair gives us or forces upon us is met with uproar, but we have no choice," one employee said

Jake Johnson

Sinclair Broadcast Group really doesn't want its employees talking to the press about the Trumpian "fake news" script it has recently been forcing local news anchors to recite.

This was made clear by a memo warning staff at the Sinclair-owned station KATU in Portland, Oregon that "giving statements to the media or sharing negative information about the company can have huge implications."

First obtained by FTV Live and published on Tuesday, the memo was sent amid outrage over the right-wing media giant's efforts to force local anchors to read propaganda railing against "false" and "fake" media—outrage that grew exponentially after Deadspin published a compilation of anchors reading Sinclair's script in unison.

Read the full memo below:

 

As Deadspin's video of anchors reading Sinclair's script went viral, some local anchors began anonymously and openly criticizing the company's attempts to exert ideological control over smaller stations that many American households rely on for daily news.

"The new scripted 'fake news' segment caused a lot of anguish where I work," one Sinclair journalist told the Huffington Post, which published a report on Tuesday detailing how the company strictly monitors its employees' "editorial activities."

"Sinclair's employee handbook...states that the company 'may monitor, intercept, and review, without further notice, every employee's activities using company's electronic resources and communications systems,'" the Huffington Post reported. "The handbook goes on to state, 'To be very clear: you should not have any expectation of personal privacy in any communication using Company owned equipment.'"

Another employee anonymously told HuffPo that "everything Sinclair gives us or forces upon us is met with uproar, but we have no choice."

This is largely because the costs of quitting Sinclair can be extremely "steep," as Bloomberg has reported.

After reviewing two employment contracts, Bloomberg found that "some Sinclair employees were subject to a liquidated damages clause for leaving before the term of their agreement was up: one that requires they pay as much as 40 percent of their annual compensation to the company."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·


Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·


Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo