A Sinclair Broadcast ad boycott wouldn't be easy

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Deadspin assembled a montage of Sinclair anchors around the U.S. reading a promo that echoed President Trump's critique of the news media.
Deadspin assembled a montage of Sinclair anchors around the U.S. reading a promo that echoed President Trump's critique of the news media. Credit: Deadspin

Sinclair Broadcast Group is the latest media company to be targeted with an ad boycott as critics allege the company is pushing a biased agenda.

But pressuring the advertisers at Sinclair's 193 TV stations around the country would prove more difficult than in other boycott efforts, which have targeted the national brands running ads across national platforms, such as Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle."

The focus on Sinclair comes after Deadspin published a montage video of the company's anchors across the U.S. reciting a promo that sounds a lot like President Trump's take on the news media. They say, among other things, "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… stories that just aren't true, without checking facts first," the script continnues.

Media mogul and former News Corp. executive Peter Chernin took to Twitter on Monday tell consumers to pressure advertisers that buy time on Sinclair stations.

But Sinclair's structure makes it far harder to organize a boycott against it than against national programs. Parkland, Florida, school-shooting survivor David Hogg was able to get about a dozen advertisers to boycott "The Ingraham Angle" last week after host Laura Ingraham tweeted that he had "whined" about not getting into the colleges of his choice. Hogg used Twitter to list what he called some of Ingraham's biggest advertiers and urged followers to tell the brands they'd stop buying their products. Within hours, marketers began announcing that they would pause their spending on the program.

To rally advertisers to boycott Sinclair stations is a much more difficult endeavor.

Instead of simply listing brand targets, for example, the website boycottsinclairbroadcasting.com provides something more complicated:

When you see your area TV or radio station listed in the link below, before avoiding them entirely, make a list of the advertisers you see or hear on their outlets. Contact these advertisers and inform them that they will no longer have YOUR BUSINESS if they continue to advertise on Channel XX TV or WXXX/KXXX radio. It's all up to you.

President Trump showed his support for Sinclair in a Tweet on Monday, saying "So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased."

Critics have complained that Sinclair orders its local stations to air "must-run" segments with what they describe as a rightward slant, including frequent reports from a "Terrorism Alert Desk."

At least one advertiser has responded to the calls for a boycott: Amy McGrath, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Kentucky.

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