These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Right Bias sources.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 43/180
Notes: Sinclair Broadcast Group is a publicly traded American telecommunications company that is controlled by the family of company founder Julian Sinclair Smith. The company is the largest television station operator in the United States by number of stations, and largest by total coverage; owning or operating a total of 193 stations across the country (233 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in over 100 markets (covering 40% of American households), many of which are located in the South and Midwest.
Sinclair has been scrutinized by multiple media outlets for consistently favoring conservative politics. They are considered a rival to right biased Fox News for the conservative audience. The Seattle Times has written a piece documenting Sinclair’s right wing bias. Further, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (Open Secrets) the Sinclair Broadcast Group has donated $1,143,508 or 80% to Republican candidates since 1994.
In March 2018, Sinclair ordered its stations to produce promos with an “anchor-delivered journalistic responsibility message” dictated by the company. A sample of the mandated script is below:
Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.
(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.
(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.
The wording of the mandated script was criticized by some station news staff and outside pundits for its discussion of “fake news” with some critics arguing that the message used similar language and rhetoric to that of Donald Trump. Trump responded to the promos on April 2, 2018, defending the company as being “far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group does not produce actual content but rather owns media networks and instructs on direction. For example, Sinclair airs Sharyl Attkisson’s Full Measure program on many of their TV networks. Sharyl Attkisson has a long track record of holding a right wing bias and promoting conspiracies and pseudoscience.
Overall, we rate Sinclair Broadcast Group Right Biased based on political affiliation with the Republican Party and the direction of network news programming. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to airing news shows with poor fact check records. (D. Van Zandt 4/2/2018)