Recently, the media firm Sinclair required news anchors at all of its local news television stations to read a script on the air that many of them felt uncomfortable with. I picked up on the story of the outcry on Vox and got linked to lots of others on the same theme. I tried to find an unadulterated copy of the script in order gain some understanding of what this is all about but have so far been unsuccessful. Though I did find an annotated version of it from the Washington Post.
What I found interesting was the comments section of the Deadspin story (noting the irony here, of course, because it is all spin) where the debate degenerates to bare naked attacks on conservative media, somewhat undermining the notion of integrity in general.
In some ways, this story makes me feel much better about the press because while much of what I’ve read in the mainstream lately appears to be agenda-driven, and as serious as the distractions that emanate from it are, it likely is not intentional. They just don’t seem to understand that while the slant through which they view the world is perhaps common among media professionals, it is not shared by all.
The unmistakable assumption common among the majority of stories about this development that objections to months-long streams of news stories that carry the presumption of culpability in serious crimes on the part of the President and his inner circle supported by scant evidence or perhaps none at all are indicative of Trumpian sympathies and corruption is quite wrong. At least from my point of view, many of the stories about Trump and collusion with Russia amount to nothing more than a willingness to slander with much giddiness and glee which is not equal to ethical journalism regardless of world view. Yet, this lack of discipline and unprofessional politically-flavored behavior continues unabated with very little in the way of self-policing in view.
For the individual journalist, news is about fact, not about world view; and it’s disturbing that the profession have blurred the lines between news and editorial without so much as the need to justify it. And this outcry over the script produced by Sinclair, however poorly worded it may be, and claims of opinion suppression, in my view, is righteous indignation over the assertion of professional discipline rather than anything Orwellian or corrupt. The inmates can’t run the asylum forever, especially when they are using a platform owned by someone else.