EDITORIAL

Feel free to speak freely, as long as you say what we say

Posted

Only buy buildings with the Trump name on it. If you’re hungry, why not try this steak? And here, wash it down with some Trump Ice.

Maybe that’s what you might see in these pages if Donald Trump decided to buy this newspaper instead of run for president. And while the words here are intended to be opinion — as opposed to the factual reporting found in the rest of this newspaper — you want the opinions in this space to reflect thoughtful consideration from the editorial team, not dictates from ownership.

But Sinclair Broadcast Group — the nation’s largest owner of television stations — has gone beyond that. They aren’t just dictating what opinions their newscasts should have, but they are scripting their very news anchors to say exactly what they want them to say.

So what? Big deal! Right? The message each and every one of these stations shared was an admonition against believing unverified news, and that some less-than-scrupulous outlets might have an agenda.

Sinclair has every right to express that, and no one would fault them for it. The line is crossed, however, when they try to pass off their words as a journalist’s words. It’s really no different than writing a story for a newspaper and slapping some random reporter’s name on it, even if he or she had nothing to do with it.

This isn’t Riverdale’s problem, or Kingsbridge’s problem, or even New York City’s problem. There are no Sinclair stations here.

For now. 

Sinclair has been pushing through its acquisition of Tribune Media for more than a year. Not only would that increase the company’s already too big footprint in this country, but they’ll be pushing their way right into our living rooms, since such a sale would likely include “New York’s very own” WPIX.

We are a city more than large enough to welcome diverse opinions, even ones that appear to support the Trump agenda. 

But real journalism comes from letting reporters and editors do their jobs, absent of bias, and absent of agendas from the top of a corporation.

Sinclair has the right idea, but totally the wrong approach. 

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