On May 24th, 2017 near unanimity occurred in the Montana media when journalists from all across the state denounced the actions of Greg Gianforte as well as rescinding the endorsements of his campaign they had made. This was due to his election eve assault of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.
What was very troubling was that on the eve of an election NBC Montana refused to cover the audio of Greg Gianforte striking Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. I know that the honest and hardworking journalists at NBC Montana did not make that decision and would have covered the biggest news story in the world that day if they had the choice, but NBC Montana had recently been purchased by right-wing media conglomerate Sinclair and management had decided not to run the Gianforte audio that evening.
While a small percentage of doubt was in some people’s minds after the events earlier that day, they were quickly put to rest when the Fox reporters who witnessed the assault detailed the punching and body-slamming that Greg Gianforte inflicted on Ben Jacobs.
From the Fox News Article on May 24th:
At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”
NBC Montana has since apologized for missing the story because they were too busy slandering the victim of the attack and the newspaper he writes for, The Guardian.
Now, Sinclair has forced all of its stations to produce and run dangerous segments that look as if Steve Bannon wrote the script. Watch the first 45 seconds of the above video, to get an idea. The script forces the journalists who work at NBC Montana and all other Sinclair stations to further the agenda of the Trump administration and call into question whether other news outlets use false reporting. This is rich stuff folks. We are in a dangerous period where the truth cannot find the light and now, good, hard-working folks are forced to denounce “fake news” or they possibly lose their jobs.
Here is a clip of what NBC Montana and other Sinclair employees were forced to read. It is haunting and I hold no grudge against the journalists who were forced to read it.
One Sinclair anchor stated:
“At my station, everyone was uncomfortable doing it.” The person insisted on anonymity because they believed they would be fired for speaking out.
An all-newsroom email from one station news director read:
“Let me be absolutely clear here…These MUST Run. If they do not, my job is on the line. I don’t say that to scare you by any means but I do say this so you understand how serious (Sinclair) is about this project.”
From Josh Manning:
So combine its “fake news” reminder with things happening in the real world. Imagine what happens when neighbors and friends note Gianforte assaulted a reporter. Sinclair viewers would consider that “fake news” since they did not see it on TV and ignore it. To them, there would have been no such incident. Sinclair will filter information to distort reality and turn people against each other. As Orwell wrote in the increasingly prescient “1984”: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” All information simply slips in to the convenient “memory holes” created by Sinclair and the regime.
As Josh Manning noted in an earlier post:
First, there is what Sinclair chooses to cover and how it does so. The company demands all of its stations now air a spot warning people watch it and not pay attention to alleged “fake news” or social media. In the ironically Orwellian-titled “Anchor Delivered Journalistic Responsibility Message” the owners require stations to air this 60-minute promotion “frequently” to remind viewers of the dangers of information outside of Sinclair’s coverage. The language from the order echoes the wording and attitude of our nation’s Dear Leader, Donald Trump.
This is in addition to the regularly required spots like having former Trump advisor Boris Epshsteyn deliver comments on every Sinclair broadcast, even if it has no connection to local coverage. News stations also must run a “Terrorism Alert Desk” update whenever it comes in. These “alerts” are more about inflaming xenophobia and instilling fear than they are about calling attention to any actual concerns. Sinclair has shown all the characteristics of a state-run television channel.
Here is the audio of Gianforte’s assault that NBC Montana would not play on the eve of the 2017 special election:
Here is a greatly entertaining and in-depth piece on Sinclair: