'Must-runs': Producer at Sinclair news station resigns in protest of those 'Orwellian' mass messages

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 05 April 2018 14:04
Sinclair Broadcasting Group coordinates anti-fake news script across tens of local news stations in US

The producer of a morning show on a TV station in Nebraska owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group has resigned after the latest promo handed down by management proved the last straw.

Sinclair's stations collectively went viral last week when they all aired a piece to camera from their respective anchors warning viewers about misleading news reports. Donald Trump, who is known for his 'fake news' rhetoric, was quick to back the broadcaster.

Justin Simmons handed in his notice at KHGI TV on 26 March, the producer telling CNNMoney that Sinclair's mandated messages, known as "must-runs" among local producers, had been causing him concern for more than a year.

"This is almost forcing local news anchors to lie to their viewers," he said.

"Making the local anchors do this was a big concern for me. I didn't go into news to give people biased information."

"Resigning seemed like the least I could do," he added. "I wish there was more."

Simmons told CNN that other "must-runs" have included a security threat segment called 'Terrorism Alert Desk' and commentaries from former Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn.

When Simmons tried to only broadcast 60% of the "must-runs", "my boss got in big trouble," he said.

After the latest message, famous for its ominous "This is extremely dangerous to our democracy" line, went viral, Sinclair Broadcast Group insisted "the promos served no political agenda".

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