Z on TV Critic David Zurawik writes about the business and culture of TV

Zurawik: How Sinclair compromised the news on an Alabama station it owns to support Roy Moore

I have been writing a lot lately about the way Sinclair Broadcast Group has become a leading player in the right-wing echo chamber that includes Fox News and Breitbart.

This is a dangerous development, as all three have used their news platforms as political weapons.

On CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, I explained how Sinclair used its Alabama station, WBMA, last week to try to attack the credibility of a Washington Post article in which a women says Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14 and he was 32. I also explained how Breitbart promoted the WBMA report with a headline on its homepage saying: “Alabama ABC affiliate can’t find one voter who believes WAPO report about Roy Moore in man on the street segment.”

While the TV reporter says she talked with “a lot of voters” for the segment, her report includes interviews with only three people.

A meticulously researched Post story last week, based on interviews with more than 30 people, included on-the-record allegations that Moore initiated a relationship with and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. Moore is alleged to have “dated” other women in their teens around that time as well.

Moore denies the allegations in the Post story, saying they are politically motivated to harm his candidacy as a Republican candidate for Senate.

As a media critic, what matters to me is the way Sinclair compromised the integrity of a newscast with this report.

My explanation of the role Sinclair is playing in the right-wing campaign to defend Moore and discredit the Post story can be seen starting at the 9:36 mark in the video above. I have more to say about Sinclair in a second segment, starting at the 33:10 mark.

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

twitter.com/davidzurawik

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