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April 06, 2018

Say No to Government Censorship - Always

Jeff Jarvis' (@jeffjarvis) twitter description reads: "#resist @BuzzMachine blogger and j-school prof; author of Public Parts, What Would Google Do?" He is almost always right on issues to do with journalism. But I'm afraid his antipathy to Donald Trump (to put it it mildly) may be influencing his judgment. We had the following twitter exchange (btw, I consider Jeff a friend and hope he still feels that way about me). The background is that the Sinclair Broadcast Group ran promos taped by the anchors at the many local TV stations they own which, among other things, complained about "the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country" [I've quoted the full text of the promo way below].




At this point NBC anchor Katy Tur joined the tweetstream.


Katy has not answered the questions in my tweet above but is entirely possible she never noticed it.

Below is the KOMO TV version of the script as quoted in the Seattle PI that the Sinclair anchors were "forced" to read in the promos (not in the news itself). I actually don't find it objectionable. There's some puffery but it is a promo. It's certainly true that there is plenty of "fake news", opinion masquerading as news, unchecked "facts" and plenty of sloppy reporting on both the left on the right and even in the middle. But in my PoV, the important point is that it would be terrible, now or in the future, to have the government award licenses based on politics or government opinion of whether a station is practicing true journalism.

"Hi, I'm(A) ____________, and I'm (B) _________________...

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.

(A) But we're concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories... stories that just aren't true, without checking facts first.


(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control 'exactly what people think'...This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

(B) At KOMO it's our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically 'left nor right.' Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual... We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback"

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