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Why does this story matter? Check this: The Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Company is the subject of controversy over its alleged support of Trump and letting that support influence its news reporting, raising concern about its lack of independence as a provider of news.

The LA Times breaks it down:

Deadspin, anchors at Sinclair stations across the country were seen in promos eerily reciting identical scripts with phrases often used by the president when criticizing mainstream news organizations. President Trump turbo-charged that perception on Monday when he attacked his media enemies in a tweet that praised Sinclair and condemned CNN and NBC News.

“Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke,” Trump tweeted.

The corporately-mandated promotional announcement is causing tensions inside of many of the newsrooms of Sinclair’s TV stations, where anchors and correspondents for years have long been required to present prepackaged reports that reflect the conservative views of the company’s owners. One morning show producer on its Nebraska outlet resigned over the issue last month. Two anchors at a TV station in Eugene, Ore., refused to read the promotional statement.

The promo has also heightened fears over Sinclair’s potential influence on the media landscape as its pending deal to acquire Tribune Media — which owns Los Angeles outlet KTLA-TV Channel 5 — would enable the combined company to reach three out of four homes in the country.”

Now a company called Deadspin will be part of an anti-Sinclair ad featuring a video that mocks the Baltimore-based broadcaster that could start running as early as this week on four of the company’s stations including WBFF.

Baltimore Sun reports:

That’s according to Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group that has been at the forefront of opposition to Sinclair’s takeover of Tribune Media.

“Tick tock, the clock is running,” Frisch said in a telephone interview. “This is a test for Sinclair. Now we’ll see if the company believes that viewers have a right to know that trusted local anchors were forced to be political pawns or fear termination,” Frisch said.

He was referring to the Deadspin video that posted Saturday and showed dozens upon dozens of local Sinclair anchors sounding like automatons as they voiced the same script about “fake” news. The effect was widely described as Orwellian.

The ad is slated to run 175 times on four stations over the course of a week starting Friday. In addition to WBFF, the other Sinclair stations are WJLA in Washington, KOMO is Seattle and KDSM in Des Moines.

Independent journalism is the cornerstone of a free democracy and informed voters.  We need to do all we can to keep news independent of political bias.  We’re waiting to see if Sinclair censors these ads.  What say you?

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