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Sinclair boycott: Are must-run segments part of a ‘propaganda machine’?

(AP Photo/, Jordan Stead)
LISTEN: Stranger writer calls for a Sinclair boycott

In the wake of the “fake news” script controversy, some have called for a Sinclair boycott. Stranger reporter Katie Herzog is one of them.

“If you are a consumer, you can vote with your wallet,” Herzog told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

RELATED: Why the ‘must-read’ controversy is not normal

Herzog’s recent article calling for a Sinclair boycott explains that the company’s must-run segments are a Conservative “propaganda machine.” The segments are either pre-recorded and distributed or scripts that local anchors have to read. Seattle TV station KOMO is one such company.

Herzog proposes viewers watch for ads during KOMO news hours and develop an advertiser list. From there, consumers can organize a Sinclair boycott. She does not say whether she wants consumers to call KOMO’s advertisers, or to simply stop spending money with them.

Critics such as Dori argue otherwise. They say boycotting the KOMO advertisers could ultimately hurt the good journalists who work there.

“The point isn’t to get people laid off, the point is to push back against Sinclair and this is the way to do it,” Herzog said. “I didn’t call for people to quit their jobs … I think that consumers — if you want to make your voice known, if you want to have your opinion heard — this is the way to do it.”

Sinclair boycott

Herzog objects to the partisan and ideological-motivated content that Sinclair requires local news stations to run. Her newspaper, The Stranger, is admittedly a biased news source. Local TV news is different, she argues.

“They don’t say this is partisan, they sort of pretend they are not partisan,” she said. “This is a huge problem. With FOX News, you know what you are getting. With CNN, MSNBC you should know what you are getting. But local news is different. People don’t tune into local news to hear some guy from the Trump administration parroting his talking points.”

Sinclair’s must-run segments have previously featured speakers related to the Trump administration, The Seattle Times reports. Herzog says that local news should be required to tell viewers that the must-run content is from the parent company, and has an ideological angle.

RELATED: TV journalist caught in Seattle media crossfire

“The fake news that I see is coming from the Trump administration, it’s coming from the White House itself,” Herzog said. “It’s not coming from CNN, NBC, or MSNBC, or NPR public radio.”

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