By now you've probably seen the Deadspin video montage of television anchors from around the country reading from a script decrying "biased and false" reports, in a message with striking parallels to President Trump's "fake news" mantra.
The existence of the script was reported by CNN almost a month ago, and Deadspin posted a video of news anchors from around the country reading the script to their viewers this past weekend. "This is extremely unsafe to a democracy".
One of those stations, WICS, is based in Springfield, and owned by this group.
And Sinclair has previously denounced fake news stories in a segment, recorded by a news executive, that local stations were instructed to air previous year. The company produces 2,400 hours of news each week, and in 2017 it hired more than 50 reporters to staff a national investigative news unit.
Instead of the federal law that states that no broadcaster can surpass more than 39 percent of households, Pai created a loophole that would allow Sinclair Broadcasting to reach more of the American public, while still staying below the threshold.
"We're concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country", reads the script.
Holland has admitted to following orders, even encouraging boycotts of Sinclair Broadcasting, WHAM, and other affiliates in her Facebook post comments.
Sinclair is in the process of purchasing Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. The hire was skewered in a 2017 segment on HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver". The promotions, highlighted by the websites Deadspin and Think Progress, led to concern on social media about how the company wields power over its news broadcasts.
It is understood that numerous anchors forced to read the script felt uncomfortable doing so. "I felt like a POW recording a message", one anchor said. "Sinclair Broadcast will also pull news coverage on those stations in a more conservative direction and explore giving full rein to those beliefs on a national platform".
The merger "will help it spread its conservative propaganda further across the country", stated liberal media activist group Media Matters for America. The agreement gave Sinclair greater access to Trump and his campaign in exchange for running interviews without commentary, according to Politico.
Journalists have a responsibility to serve as a bulwark against threats to a free press.