Sinclair Broadcasting Sues Employee Even After He Leaves Job

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Voices from within the hostage camps of Sinclair Broadcasting are beginning to surface in print, broadcast and social media. I pulled this cautionary tale from the Orlando Weekly of this week. A former employee was in effect SUED FOR QUITTING. Let that roll around in your head.

It is called a “liquidated clause” for leaving the team before the term of an agreement is set to end. Could be up to 40% of annual pay. Remember, these reporters and anchors are working small to medium markets. They are getting what you and I earn, not the million-dollar network contracts. That should answer the question as to why some or many of the Sinclair news staff read the offensive manifesto that became part of a viral video, instead of saying “hell no” recently.

Jonathan Beaton is a former Sinclair employee who is the subject of the Orlando Weekly story. Fascinating stranglehold Sinclair has not only while you work for them but after. Yes, after he left to begin his own PR company (not work for a rival TV station), Sinclair sued him.

Read it for yourself.

“A set of parameters and we had to stick to them.” When far away corporate managers restrict your local news team, that is clearly infringing on the Freedom of the Press to fairly cover a community to its expectations.

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What Is So Wrong About the Sinclair Broadcasting Script?

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“They co-opt the credibility that local anchors have built up in their communities over years and decades and use that credibility to promote a political agenda.” — Aaron Weiss, former Sinclair News Director

Covering the Sinclair Broadcasting story over the past two blogs,  (Has Big Brother Arrived at a TV Set in Your Home? and How Much Do I Hate Thee Sinclair Broadcasting? America Is Counting the Ways) I have interjected facts and opinions from my point of view because I feel this strikes to the core of Freedom of the Press. Take away the press, both conservative and liberal sides, and you remove the watchdogs of those who would govern by fear and dishonesty.

Today, let’s hear from Aaron Weiss who’s “been there, done that” for Sinclair, as well Tim Burke who put that frightening video collage together and what he has heard since from the “Sinclair hostages.”

https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/04/04/aaron-weiss-intv-sinclair-news-director-must-read-scripts-hostage-videos-sot-newday.cnn/video/playlists/sinclair-broadcast-group/

https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/04/04/aaron-weiss-intv-former-sinclair-news-director-not-heard-inside-respect-journalism-sot-newday.cnn

https://www.cnn.com/videos/cnnmoney/2018/04/03/deadspin-sinclair-broadcast-group-video-tim-burke-ebof.cnn/video/playlists/stories-worth-watching/

Having heard all this, I suggest you return to the Deadspin video. Focus beyond the words and look at the announcers, their voices, and their mannerisms. Feel sorry for them. They are being mentally abused and should be pitied.

One last thought. Be you conservative or liberal, money talks. Too bad someone just doesn’t make a better offer to Tribune’s owners and buy it out from under Sinclair. A non-media company. Sinclair will still operate the stations it has, but it would be derailed of its aggressive assault on Freedom of the Press.

How Much Do I Hate Thee Sinclair Broadcasting? America Is Counting the Ways

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By this point most people in the USA know about the Sinclair Broadcasting manifesto to force all its local affiliates, partnerships, holdings etc. to not just toe the company line but to do it at the expense of local communities. If you don’t here is link to my last blog with info and the offending video.

A great deal has happened since my blog posted. But since it is nearly 1am and I have to be up at 5am, let me just point to two interesting items.

My suggestion was to activate a 1.0 world solution, to challenge Sinclair stations one by one as the license renewals came up.

The 2.0 world is to get on Twitter, create a hashtag of #SinclairStrike and motivate people to act on May 15th 2018 (thanks to Ed Krassenstein @EdKrassen)

Mark your calendars!
May 15th, 2018 is the #SinclairStrike.

  • Sinclair Broadcasting Employees call out sick
  • Sinclair viewers boycott the network
  • Sinclair advertisers pull their ads by this date

And while #2 and #3 started happening immediately, I didn’t think much would come of asking employees who had buckled under to do these-called “hostage videos” to call out sick. 

Sinclair TwitterBut then there was a tweet from one of the stations that gave me hope that there were still warriors on the front line of this battle.

The other interesting thing was when out of left field Preet Bharara (Former US Atty SDNY) suggests in a Tweet that Jeff Bezos of Amazon just flat out buy Twitter “with the change in his pocket and shut Trump’s account.”  Interesting, but what does that have to do with Sinclair?

Other voices soon urged Bezos (who has been feuding with Trump over the Amazon and Washington Post connections) to either buy Sinclair Broadcasting – or buy the Tribune stations away from Sinclair. Again, it is 1am and I can only imagine without checking, the logistics of Amazon buying up a monstrous amount of local tv stations.

But the point is, people are not siting back and waiting for someone else to protect the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. To quote Mr. Bharara “Citizens working together are more powerful than US Attorneys. And presidents.”

{Update at 5:30am, finding the Sinclair issue has been cooking overnight, it is a Twitter moment now. https://twitter.com/i/moments/980985089109590016}

 

Has Big Brother Arrived at a TV Set in Your Home?

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Expecting to enjoy a pleasant Easter Sunday meal with family later in the day, I was served a gut-wrenching, distasteful appetizer of things to come when I checked my Twitter account this morning and found the now well-publicized Sinclair promo story.

At the outset, let me say I am politically an independent. Been so since I first signed up to vote over 40 years ago. Would have voted for JFK. Did vote for Reagan. I vote the party that speaks to the needs of the nation as I see it. OK?

So, I don’t give a damn if Sinclair is ultra-right or ultra-left. My concern is the humiliation and bastardization of local news by these barbarians at the gate of journalism.

Local stations should be free to cover and broadcast news and issues by and for the local community.

Right thinking will be rewarded, wrong thinking punished – George Orwell
Resistance is futile – The Borg
Corporate infringement on local journalism – apparent Sinclair manifesto 

James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, wrote: “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both.” He felt a free press was an essential part of a democratic society— that it enabled people to make informed choices.

Seems to have worked over the past 240 years.

Now Sinclair wants to create a Hive Mind.  Resistance is futile.

Or is it?

TV stations operate pursuant to broadcasting licenses granted by the FCC. This means individual stations are subject to renewal process with the FCC. When renewal applications (FCC Form 303-S) are pending, petitions to deny license renewals can be filed by interested parties in the community.

These renewal applications are due on a staggered basis, depending upon the state in which the station is licensed.  Before the FCC can renew a station’s license, it must first determine whether the licensee has served the public interest during the preceding license term.

This is how Sinclair was described last year during its move to gobble up Tribune Media (from Docket Number: MB Docket 17-179, FCC)

Pursuant to a merger agreement, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Sinclair) and Tribune Media Company (Tribute) have filed applications seeking Commission consent to transfer control of Tribune’s full-power broadcast televisions stations, low-power television stations, and TV translator stations to Sinclair.
According to the Applicants, Sinclair owns or operates 173 broadcast television stations, consisting of 528 channels, in 81 markets, with affiliations with all major networks, and is the largest local news provider in the country; Tribune owns or operates 42 broadcast television stations in 33 markets, also with affiliations with all major networks. Tribune also owns cable network WGN America, digital multicast network Antenna TV and WGN-Radio.
According to the Applicants, Tribune’s owns and operates broadcast television stations in the top three markets in the country, seven stations in the top ten markets, and 34 stations in the top 50 markets.
The Applicants claim that under the proposed transaction, the combined company would reach 72 percent of U.S. television households and would own and operate the largest number of broadcast television stations of any station group.

Being force fed a “Right thinking will be rewarded, wrong thinking punished” political ideology upon a supposedly objective news team is contradictory to the tenants of an unfettered press and the needs of a local community to make informed choices.

Do you have a Sinclair outlet in your community? Here is a list.