A news producer at a Sinclair-owned station in Nebraska resigned Wednesday to protest "obvious bias," saying the company was "almost forcing local news anchors to lie to their viewers."
Justin Simmons told CNN he gave notice at KHGI TV on March 26, a move he made after Sinclair Broadcasting Group Sinclair, which owns 173 local TV affiliates, required anchors to record promos where they denounce "the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country" and say that "some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control 'exactly what people think.'"
"Making the local anchors do this was a big concern for me," Simmons said. "I didn't go into news to give people biased information."
"Resigning seemed like the least I could do," he added. "I wish there was more."
The Sinclair story has gained steam over the last few weeks, as many critics felt the company-wide directive was pushing a pro-Trump agenda. The mandates have also made tensions worse between the company's local stations and management.
Sinclair in a statement said the promos, "served no political agenda, and represented nothing more than an effort to differentiate our award-winning news programming from other, less reliable sources of information."
Simmons told CNN he had concerns that dated back a year-and-a-half, specifically mandates that producers insert national stories that sometimes have a conservative focus. When Simmons only ran 60 percent of the "must-run" segments in the morning, including Pro-Trump commentaries by former Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, "my boss got in trouble," he said.
"On YouTube, (Boris) only has a couple hundred views for some of his videos," Simmons said. "On Facebook he's not that popular either. To me that's also a concern because Sinclair is forcing us to air these."
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