Accuracy in Media

As Sinclair Broadcast Group moves closer to taking over Tribune Media and expanding its reach into some of America’s major urban cores, the mainstream media is doing its part to point out the problems with allowing a conservative media outlet so much of a presence.

The latest is a story of a Lynchburg, Va., TV reporter who was fired because she refused to provide balance to her stories as her supervisors requested. But because the owner of the station is Sinclair, the mainstream media rushed to her defense.

“Suri Crowe told the truth about climate change – so Sinclair Broadcasting got rid of her,” read the headline on DailyKos. “At least one Sinclair station has been trying to cast doubt on climate science,” headlined the story on Grist.

“She tried to report on climate change. Sinclair told her to be more ‘Balanced,’” read the headline on BuzzFeed News.

The mainstream media’s view – held almost universally – is that the science of climate is settled, man is the villain of the piece and absent extensive regulations implemented immediately, the earth cannot sustain current levels of activity.

Insisting a reporter cover the other side of the issue – in which scientists report temperatures were warmer in the 1930s than they are now, basically have not increased since 1995 and now may even be cooling and that the role of man in all this may not be significant at all – is tantamount to forcing them to lie on the air and destroy their credibility.

That is the direction all the stories on this have taken.

BuzzFeed reported that “Sinclair Broadcast Group executives reprimanded and ultimately ousted a local news reporter who refused to seed doubt about man-made climate change and ‘balance’ her stories in a more conservative direction.”

In one instance, according to what were described as company documents provided to Buzzfeed by Crowe, she was criticized by her former news director because she “clearly laid out the argument that human activities caused global warming but had nothing from the side that questions the science behind such claims and points to more natural causes for such warming.”

Crowe also ran afoul of management for social media posts calling for restrictions on guns as well as reporting on white nationalism and Liberty University, headed by Trump ally Jerry Falwell, Jr., and one of the largest employers in Lynchburg.

“Company documents do criticize some of her work as unfair and her behavior as unprofessional at times,” the Buzzfeed story admits. But “overall, the documents provide an unusually close look at one reporter’s experience working for a Sinclair station, and how the smallest details mattered and were recorded.”

The news director, who now works in the communications department at Liberty, defended his actions.

“I understand most scientists agree with that assessment. I, myself, feel that human activity at least plays a role, but our opinions really shouldn’t matter. We were there to deliver news, not opinion. And there is NOT 100 percent agreement on this issue, even among the scientific community.”

Those competing views aren’t worth hearing, according to DailyKos.

“The truth is that the groups questioning the science behind such claims have no science to back them up,” it wrote. “What they have is a network of ‘institutes’ that consist of nothing but publicity offices funded by fossil fuel companies …

“Climate change wasn’t the only reporting done by Crowe where she ruffled the feathers at Sinclair. But in her mind, the story she reported was simply factual, with no reason to inject unsupported opinions.”

It quoted her as saying, “I was always covering the flu. I don’t remember a time when for balance I went out to a group of 20 people who are nut jobs that say flu shots kill.”

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