WLOS television anchors in Asheville have been reading promos ordered by parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group for the past several days. The statements, which decry “fake news,” have been criticized as corporate infringement on local news and pro-Trump propaganda. CNN first broke the story about the promos run by Sinclair, a company that owns more local television stations in the U.S. than any other company.

The WLOS-TV promos have been airing in the 6 a.m., noon, early and late evening news broadcasts. There are two versions. One features Frank Fraboni and Darcel Grimes, while the other includes morning anchors Jay Siltzer and Holly Headrick. The promos started March 23 and will end on Friday.

Here’s the promo:

Our greatest responsibility is to serve our mountain communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that News 13 produces.

But we are 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.

More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories without checking facts first.

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 our democracy.

At News 13, it’s our responsibility to report and pursue the truth. We understand truth is neither politically left nor right. Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, mow more than ever. But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short.

If you believe our coverage is unfair, please reach out through our News 13’s website by click on content concerns. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual. We consider it our honor, privilege, to responsibly deliver the news every day. Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.

48 Comments

  1. WLOS just lost all credibility. I’ll get my political news and even weather forecasts elsewhere — can’t trust ’em. Hear that, sponsors?

    Check out the New York Times’ article on Sinclair’s progressing schedule to take over the news media, “With Sinclair, We Have Trump TV” at .

    And watch the simultaneously hilarious and bone-chilling video of the forced reading of Sinclair’s “fake news” right-wing propaganda by 200 TV stations being turned back on Sinclair at .

  2. Just turn it off, don’t patronize advertisers participating in the further dumbing down of the public, get your weather from a reliable source.

  3. luther blissett says:

    “Most of the time, we don’t feel like we work for Sinclair — we feel like local journalists who cover what’s going on in our communities. Our corporate leaders don’t influence our local stories. They do feed us a stream of conservative-leaning nationally focused content.”

    https://www.vox.com/first-person/2018/4/5/17202336/sinclair-broadcasting-promo-deadspin

    At some point, the must-run stories pushed out by Sinclair Central will bump against local stories — whether it’s environmental issues or police brutality or government officials with expensive tastes on the taxpayer’s dime — and WLOS is going to look stupid.

  4. William Towers says:

    Another issue I’ve had with WLOS 6:00 news is their overuse of religion based articles; spotlighting Christianity, of course. Please… save those for Sunday mornings.
    This Sinclair stunt for Trump backing ices it. I’ll be watching WSPA henceforth, for both “local” and world news. And their weather reports serve my vicinity just as well as Jason Boyer, and company.

  5. They are describing their exact style of reporting, unchecked, biased and one sided.

  6. George K Milam says:

    I echo what Richard Lance and Barry Summers said. I grew up on WLOS in the 50’s watching old movies when I missed my school bus. But having had a US Navy 22 year WWII veteran as a father and a son who served in combat in Iraq 2004-, I was tremendously upset with WLOS’s ‘decision’ to refuse to ackowledge the sacrifices of the first 1000 of our sons and daughters killed and the over the top editorials from Sinclair’s Mark Hyman during same period.
    But please Dave ??, it is curious of your accurate text from the A+ rated Nate Silver gives the Monmouth poll(even with a slight D inclination. But please put it all in context. I give an excerpt: “Fully 83% of Americans believe that OUTSIDE GROUPS OR AGENTS are actively trying to plant fake stories in the mainstream media. Two-thirds (66%) say this is a serious problem – including 74% of Republicans, 68% of independents, and 59% of Democrats.

    “According to the public, fake news is the result of both outside agents trying to plant fabricated stories and the EDITORIAL PROCESSES of mainstream media outlets that disseminate false narratives. The perception of this problem couldn’t be more pervasive,”.
    Furthermore, 48% trusted CNN more than Trump and only 32% Trump more than CNN. Likewise 47% trusted MSNBC more than Trump and only 33% Trump more than MSNBC.Looks to me that 30% group would include you and the usual Fox and now Sinclair single source followers. Believe me, I too would think like you if I took them as part of my news source. We all want the truth, but as Pilate said to Jesus, “What is truth?”
    You know them by their fruits.

  7. “Over the course of my 14-year career in broadcasting, I worked for multiple corporate owners, large and small. I have good friends who are anchors, reporters and executives at other station groups across the country. Only Sinclair forces those trusted local journalists to lend their credibility to shoddy reporting and commentary that, if it ran in other countries, we would rightly dismiss as state propaganda.”
    Confessions Of A Former Sinclair News Director
    bit.ly/2H7ptCL

    • The Pew Research Center said that the early coverage of Trump was 62 percent negative.

      By comparison, Obama’s coverage was just 20 percent negative.

      The media story reviewed the tone of coverage of Trump’s first 60 days in office and found that just 5 percent was “positive.”

      By comparison, Obama’s coverage was 42 percent positive.

      https://tinyurl.com/ybtdnust

      • And is this a reflection of bias, or is this a reflection of the fact that Trump constantly says and does horrifying things? Like his policies or not, Obama tried to be a uniter (to the occasional chagrin of those of us who wanted him to take on the right more aggressively). Trump tries to divide and pit people against each other every single day. Guess what? This leads to “negative” coverage – which to a narcissist, isn’t bad, so long as they’re talking about him.

        Is it only “fair” and “balanced” when they don’t report on the horrifying things Trump does?

  8. Calling something “local news” when you have local anchors reading a script written by right wing corporate HQ is a joke, particularly when it references “fake news” and other Trump propaganda. The local anchors also read from a script when they are introducing some of the right wing segments prepared by Sinclair HQ that the local stations are required to run. The right wing commentary segments from Mark Hyman and Boris Epshteyn are a joke, like an even dumber version of Sean Hannity. I’ve emailed WLOS and told them I will no longer watch any of their “local” news and weather. I’ll go to WYFF or WSPA out of upstate SC.

  9. There it is people. Have your “news” outlets, even considered making a similar statement? Or is it implied in their “reporting”. Do the other national and local stations push certain stories and narratives, 100% bias and coordination free? If Sinclair and Fox are the propaganda wing of the Trump administration, then the other 90%+ of all of the other “news” outlets are the propaganda wing of (you know the answer). The intellectual dishonesty and laziness of the left is staggering.

    • “If Sinclair and Fox are the propaganda wing of the Trump administration, then the other 90%+ of all of the other “news” outlets are the propaganda wing of (you know the answer).”

      Of course. ‘You’re either with us or against us’. “Dave” here (if that is his real name) can’t conceive of a world where any media is simply telling the truth – it’s all someone’s propaganda. That’s pretty convenient when most of the news is bad for your side.

      I hate to break it to you, “Dave”, but just because someone is criticizing Dear Leader, that’s not necessarily “bias”.

      • You, Barry, jump right in and prove my point. I hate to break it to you “Barry” (Dave is my real name) but per the link to the Monmouth poll (did you follow the link? Or even read the statement?) :

        More than 3-in-4 Americans believe that traditional major TV and newspaper media outlets report “fake news,” including 31% who believe this happens regularly and 46% who say it happens occasionally. The 77% who believe fake news reporting happens at least occasionally has increased significantly from 63% of the public who felt that way last year.”

        Like I said: Lazy and dishonest. And belive me, most of the bad “news” was for you. In particular, “Hillary is going to win” I KNOW its all propaganda, Barry, which is why it is lazy and dishonest to complain, and label Sinclair as such, when 90% is anti-Trump propaganda. Are you catching on here yet, bubba? What would you do all day if you didnt splash your pseudo-intellectualism on the interwebs? You’re practically a peice of cyber-furniture on this site. Get a hobby.

        • Huh – insults and a call to stop commenting. I must be on the right track. Thanks for the encouragement, “Dave”. I’ll comment even more now.

          • Calling you intellectually lazy and dishonest is not an insult. It’s a fact. I know you will keep commenting. You have a very long and well established record.

          • Whatever. Next time you’re down there, tell Dear Leader’s boot I said Hi.

          • Very clever. Always need to get in the last word? And the first, and all the ones in-between?

        • More than 3-in-4 Americans believe that traditional major TV and newspaper media outlets report “fake news”

          Well I guess that makes it so. Who needs truth when you have truthiness?

    • So where do you get your news from? Is it unbiased? Which 10% is what you consider not biased? Do they have investigations with several sources to corroborate or is it an opinion? Is it labeled opinion?

      If you’re not aware, Local News reports what’s local. How can you be bias about a car accident or new beer being brewed? These segments are voicing opinions not facts without saying it’s an opinion. Do you know the difference?

      It’s especially dangerous because local news anchors are local personalities in your living room every night & trusted.

      I’m getting really sick & tired of this not trusting facts but trusting opinions, probably not knowing the difference.

    • luther blissett says:

      Non sequitur: specifically, fallacy of the undistributed middle. Try again, Dave.

    • Calling you intellectually lazy and dishonest is not an insult. It’s a fact. The intellectual dishonesty and laziness of Trump Monkeys like you is staggering. And that’s a fact too.

  10. Barbara Fisher says:

    Please don’t shoot the messenger. They have no choice. Those who suggest they should take a stand and quit their jobs are being naive and unkind.

  11. SINCLAIR RESPONDS TO UNFOUNDED MEDIA CRITICISM
    Baltimore, MD (April 2, 2018) – Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) (“Sinclair”) today responded to a series of media reports attacking the Company’s recent promotional announcement for its local news. These announcements were responding to the public’s distrust in news generally, confirmed just today by this Monmouth University poll https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_us_040218, and spoke to our commitment to avoid such inaccurate reporting. 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.
    “We aren’t sure of the motivation for the criticism, but find it curious that we would be attacked for asking our news people to remind their audiences that unsubstantiated stories exist on social media, which result in an ill-informed public with potentially dangerous consequences,” commented Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s Senior Vice President of News. “It is ironic that we would be attacked for messages promoting our journalistic initiative for fair and objective reporting, and for specifically asking the public to hold our newsrooms accountable. Our local stations keep our audiences’ trust by staying focused on fact-based reporting and clearly identifying commentary.”

  12. Mike Barton says:

    “1984”

  13. Michael Evans says:

    I quit watching American corporate owned news channels almost 10 years ago. Only worried about ratings and advertising rates. Channel 13 last time I saw it was nothing more than a satellite feed re-broadcaster because of the low budget. The media has cooked their own goose and has to deal with it.

  14. I have grown up with you. Watched tragedies in your lives, shared your pain, as I do now. But I can no longer support you as I have in military service for 35 years, because you no longer support me. I will make a list of sponsors to boycott, and promise not to patronize them. It is a sad goodbye, and will miss the snow and trafficvc reports. But you must somehow do better to ever be in my living room again. I deserve better than this.
    Richard Lance
    Canton

  15. John Welty says:

    Well
    Just as after a speech given during a past Republican convention a few years ago
    “This sounded better in its original German”.
    And that says it all
    Your so called unbiased “Sinclair produced OPINIONS ” speaks volumes of what new should not be.
    Great journalism….Not so much
    Try Looking into the mirror at your selves and what your doing to this country before you go before the camera and speak Sinclair blather…
    Or does that matter anymore

  16. Betsy Fleming says:

    Im boycotting wlos from now on. If I wantwd trumps propaganda I woyld watch fox. WLOS you ate better than this.

  17. And right on cue today, Trump tweeted his support for Sinclair, putting it in the pantheon with the other approved State media source, Fox “news”.

    bit.ly/2Jf9lj9

  18. luther blissett says:

    The biggest problem with Sinclair’s not-so-stealth consolidation of its affiliates into a national news broadcaster is that the national must-run segments color the local coverage, regardless of one’s political views.

    For example: if WLOS runs a piece on the CTS cleanup (which has bipartisan local support) or Duke Energy coal ash, and then shows a must-run from Sinclair Central saying the EPA is over-regulating polluters, the network’s credibility suffers, and viewers would right to suspect that local coverage is being influenced even if there’s no direct editorial intervention from the big bosses.

    When local news coverage declines, everything gets shoved through a national perspective, and that contributes to the polarization of everyday life. That happens when Gannett turns the Citizen-Times into USA Today with local bits, and it happens when Sinclair turns WLOS into Sinclair News Network with local bits.

  19. Christopher Pratt says:

    Cannot like this and the way it came about with Sinclair and Trump deal of access for support. Hate to see our news folks forced to read this and other must run Sinclair garbage. I feel sad for these announcers, good hardworking people, neighbors, folks we watch everyday required to read stuff I am sure they would not read if not forced on pain of losing their jobs. Sinclair has obviously has a corrupted idea of a free press under the First Amendment to our Constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  20. nancy dillingham says:

    Boycott WLOS-TV news!

  21. This, from a media conglomerate that hired a spokesman right out of Trump’s White House, and now forces local stations to run his “commentary”.

    “Sinclair increases ‘must-run’ Boris Epshteyn segments”

    Their bleating about “fake news” would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. This is how fascist governments operate – hand-in-hand with fascist corporate cronies.

    • Barry you really are a mental midget. I’ve read your ‘comments’ on this site for a while and they’re always the same lame BS. Get a job

      • Enlightened Enigma says:

        Dave…little Barry has demonstrated his mental smallness on several sites …he is the consummate leftwinger propagandist and reminds me of Gordon Smith…

        Fill in the blank:

        You might be a ____________ if you throw trash and litter on the ground expecting someone else to pick it up.

        What word do we call these people?

  22. Commenting without using one’s real name is chickenhearted and should not be permitted.

  23. Ronald W Thompson Jr says:

    Surely they are speaking about FOX faux news? Right?

  24. I hope you mean it.

  25. “But we are 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.”

    Must be talking about Fox News, Breitbart, Drudge etc.

    “More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories without checking facts first.”

    Again, this can only refer to Fox News and its ilk.

    “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 our democracy.”

    Now they’re talking about Sinclair.

  26. Phil Broome says:

    I think it’s sad that they have to come on and state that they actually have to say that they have checked out stories, and looked into all sides…. you know THEIR JOB. That’s what “news” is supposed to be, unbiased unspun facts. Let the audience take their opinion from that.
    Just because those in power now don’t like the facts that are being presented and call it fake news, doesn’t mean it’s fake. If facts hurt your feelings…..THOUGH, get over it. I’m not saying get you news from Facebook and other outlets without doing your own homework to make sure it’s true. That would be like believing everything on Wikipedia, which any moron can go on and change things…. People, quit blaming other people for being lazy and not checking things out. Whatever you may believe, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it true.

  27. Kem vanvoorhis says:

    If wlos simply repeats what the mainstream media is pushing for the day, I won’t watch. please continue to pursue the truth and don’t let them subdue you/us.

  28. WLOS, as well as many other local news stations, have become shills for Sinclair and mouthpieces for the thoughts and beliefs of its owners. I stopped watching the local broadcast a few years ago because of the lack of solid reporting, uninteresting stories and its originality was suffering. The purchase by Sinclair has only made this worse. I have come to get my Asheville news from other outlets, including Ashvegas, in lieu of WLOS or WYFF in Greenville. It’s a shame with so much going on here that is interesting and unique that there cannot be a newscast that better reflects the community.

  29. Enlightened Enigma says:

    not sure they really get it about the fake news problem in bigger places…

    WLOS has refused to explore the biggest problem in Asheville, the Housing Authority, run by the segregationists, Gene Bell and Co. He segregates the poor people and makes more money with more units to manage, so he’s building 212 more units of future ghetto…enough already.

    • hauntedheadnc says:

      Let me get this straight… You complain when the poor are segregated in economic ghettos, gated and sealed off from the rest of the city.

      …But you also complain when those selfsame ghettos are being redeveloped into mixed-income neighborhoods better connected to the city and the job opportunities therein, which would enable the poor to more easily access jobs.

      Why do I always get the impression, Mr. Caudle, that your solution to poverty would involve boxcars?

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