Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.’s headquarters Oct. 12, 2004, in Hunt Valley, Md. A Democratic candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat is buying ads on Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned television stations that blast Sinclair for forcing reporters to read conservative-leaning corporate statements on air.AP.
HELENA, Mont. – A Democratic candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat is using Sinclair Broadcast Group’s own television stations to blast the company for forcing its reporters to read the conservative-leaning corporation’s statements on air.
John Heenan bought airtime starting Monday for an ad on Sinclair-owned stations KECI-TV in Missoula and KTVM-TV in Bozeman and Butte. In it, he calls Sinclair “a corporation using its power to take advantage of journalists, our democracy and the people of Montana.”
“This station is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, a powerful corporation that forces its journalists to read corporate talking points on the air,” Heenan says in the ad.
“We don’t turn away candidate ads,” she said. She declined further comment.
Heenan added that the Sinclair stations did not object to the ad’s message. “They cashed our check,” he said.
The candidate, one of four Democrats competing for the chance to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, was referring to a script read by news anchors on Sinclair stations across the country that expressed concern about “one-sided news stories plaguing the country.”
A video by the website Deadspin that edited together dozens of anchors reading the same words from the Sinclair script has been viewed by millions of people.
Other Democratic candidates for political office in the U.S. have pulled their ads from Sinclair stations or pledged not to buy air time on them in protest. Heenan claimed to be the first candidate to use the company’s own airwaves against it.
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