Competing Interests in Local News Media


As I told John DePetro in our segment last week, the attack on Sinclair Broadcasting and Channel 10 in Rhode Island has the feel of scapegoating, as if the mainstream media writ large wants to offload its own sins onto a creature it can banish into the desert.  That sense arose again whencombining two items from the Providence Journal.

The first is a column by Executive Editor Alan Rosenberg, who describes how the paper’s national owner, GateHouse Media, provides lots of content and support for local papers, without “must run” stories as with Sinclair.  Conspicuous, here, is that the content for which Channel 10 is currently under fire was essentially a corporate advertisement promising straightforward news, in contrast to “fake news” from elsewhere.

To Our Readers: We need your support to challenge the progressive mainstream media narrative. Your donation helps us deliver the truth to Rhode Islanders. Please give now.

Well, just last week, I got identical emails at exactly the same time from the Providence Journal and Fall River Herald, both GateHouse outlets, asking me to subscribe:  “Real News, Because the truth Matters.  Truth and Honesty.  We know what matters.”  That sounds quite a bit like the Sinclair spots, which included language like, “We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced, and factual.”  Is it really the difference between journalistic integrity and a threat to our democracy that Sinclair had its news anchors read its version of that ad?

The second relevant item in the Providence Journal is an article by Katherine Gregg about a protest of fewer than two dozen people against Channel 10.  Anybody who’s followed local labor union activities will recognize the names of Patricia Ricci and Louis Rainone, and that connection is intrinsic:

“I am here to protest Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s attempt to muzzle what we think is free speech,″ said Scott Molloy, the retired University of Rhode Island labor-studies professor who appeared to be leading the protest by the newly formed “Free Speech Coalition.”

Rainone’s group, Jobs with Justice, is heavily funded by local labor unions, such as the RI AFL-CIO, and the AFL-CIO is an umbrella union covering Katherine Gregg’s labor union at the Providence Journal.  Shouldn’t that connection be worth a parenthetical note in an article about union activists attacking a competing news outlet?

  • Mike678

    You have to hand it to many activists on the left; they are practiced in hiding their true goals behind seemingly innocuous and supportable objectives.

    • guest

      Mike, why don’t you tell us what their “true goals” are?

      • Mike678

        I don’t want to encourage intellectual laziness. Why don’t you think about it, read the article critically, and then let us know what you think it is. Not a bias-driven opinion, but a persuasive argument. Just try…..

        • guest

          Just as I suspected, you have nothing behind your vague conspiracy-light musings.

          • Mike678

            Do you always blame others for your inability to think? To present a coherent argument?

            This saying is apt:

            A man who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him.

            Consider yourself shunned.

  • guest

    “Is it really the difference between journalistic integrity and a threat
    to our democracy that Sinclair had its news anchors read its version of
    that ad?” Wow, your really need to ask that question?

  • The Misfit

    If Sinclair CEO David Smith had read that message and identified himself on all of Sinclair’s stations that would be one thing. We could debate the merits of the statement and Sinclair’s role in honest reporting and fake news. But that did not happen. Instead, Sinclair forced local anchors to read the statement as though it was their own words. Frank Coletta has built his own brand through his own work to be regarded as a trustworthy news anchor. Sinclair stole that and exploited this employee in this market. Frank read the spiel as though it was his sentiments. What kind of a defense can you dream up for that?

  • The Misfit

    And what about the viewer? The viewer that has grown comfortable with Frank. Trusting him. He’s screwed but so are the viewers that did not know the source of this statement. Assumed it was Frank. That’s deception and dishonesty. So what does that say about Sinclair?

    • Merle The Monster

      Amen Brother

  • Mario

    I’ve been far more offended by the more direct propaganda of the Boris Epshteyn segments, but I can see why forcing their words into the mouths of trusted local newscasters bothers others more.

  • Mike678

    The message:

    What, pray tell, is wrong with it? There are irresponsible people in the media–many have been castigated for their bias and errors.

    No, the anger and from the left is driven by angst that their propoganda machine monopoly is being challenged–other voices are being heard. Just more anti-critical thought trolls that believe free speech means only saying what they want to hear.

    The script, as transcribed by ThinkProgress based on the KOMO (Seattle) version, reads:

    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 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.

    • guest

      The irony is that the Sinclair stations are perpetuating exactly what they are “warning” the viewers about. Only the true believers see nothing wrong with it (unless of course it was the left that was caught passing off editorials as news.)

      • Mike678

        I note you didn’t answer the question, troll. Too hard to examine your beliefs? Try logic and reason sometime.

        • guest

          How’s your reading comprehension? You asked “What, pray tell, is wrong with it?” and I told you “Sinclair stations are perpetuating exactly what they are “warning” the viewers about”. It’s really not that difficult if you pay attention.

          • Mike678

            No, you provided an opinion…a rather ignorant one. What is wrong with the statement, troll? Are there not people misleading the public? Are there not lies on social media? Do I need to use smaller words?

  • BasicCaruso

    “Rainone’s group, Jobs with Justice, is heavily funded by…”

    Quite telling how significant Justin always finds other group’s funding sources. As is, his knee jerk defense of out of state corporate interest over local organizations. #ka-ching

    Shouldn’t that connection be worth noting? LOL!