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The Problem with Journalists Being Pressured to Read Company Script

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The Problem with Journalists Being Pressured to Read Company Script

By Jenna Sundel, National News Editor

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President Donald Trump is known for calling all negative news about him “fake news” and trying to discredit the top journalists in the business, such as Megyn Kelly and Chuck Todd, but a recent advertisement shown on many local news stations that he may be connected to is showing how the worst is yet to come.

Local news stations are owned by broadcasting companies and have a contract with companies like NBC or CBS. The biggest broadcasting company is Sinclair Broadcast Group, who own 173 local stations and possibly 233 if their proposed sales are approved. Recently, many local stations have aired a commercial in which they talk about the danger of one-sided or fake stories to democracy. The two things they all had in common were that they used the exact same script on every station and they are all owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The sickening compilation of all of the advertisements are shown in the video above. Sinclair Broadcast Group is known to have a conservative viewpoint. 

President Trump clearly approved, tweeting, “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke”

Despite how alarming this is on the surface, it gets worse. Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, admitted that the Trump campaign did have a deal to air interviews of then-candidate Donald Trump without any commentary, This leads many to believe that a member of President Trump’s administration, or even the president himself, may be involved in the recent scripted advertisement.

People are wondering why reporters would mindlessly read a scripted message if they disagreed with it, and the answer lies in the shady contracts dealt to writers and anchors of local news stations. Provisions of firing often include paying a percentage of their salary, paying back all of the bonuses they have ever received, or being banned from other local news stations. Sinclair Broadcast Group is making people choose between their job and fundamental rights as a journalist or spewing mindless propaganda that echoes the president’s harsh rhetoric.

Local news stations are often admired. Viewers see the anchors as people who understand them since they live in the area, and therefore value their stories and respect their opinion. Since many people who approve of President Trump no longer trust national news stations like CNN, local news stations can be viewed as more trustworthy. This makes local news stations a wonderful target for President Trump’s journey to create more positive news surrounding his administration.

This is the first step in President Trump taking over the media. It’s a warning sign of what the world can become. It starts with a puppeted advertisement, and eventually can become the president writing the whole show. The president is ignoring one of the most important parts of the First Amendment, freedom of the press. It was created as an important check against tyranny. WIthout it, American people would never know about wrongdoings of their government. The American people need it now more than ever, with Russian collusion, tons of firings in the Trump administration, and many more scandals. History is beginning to repeat itself. Before television news, the American people supported terrible wars simply because their newspapers only showed the positives. The Red Scare prevented people from speaking their mind since even slightly liberal views could classify them as a Communist. Journalists are not the enemy. They are simply everyday people who decided to take on the job of spreading the news they deduce from the facts given. What journalists should not be are prisoners pressured to read whatever the government mandates, because in the end it hurts every single American person as they slowly are stripped of their rights and descend into the realm of a dictatorship.

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Jenna Sundel, Senior Editor

Jenna Sundel, a senior, has been part of the Patriot Press for 3 years. She loves to read, write, and tap dance. She also participates in National Honors...

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