A morning TV producer at a Sinclair-owned station in Nebraska who resigned, accusing the network of “obvious bias,” just so happens to be a left-wing activist who organized a Black Lives Matter protest in May 2016 and participated in a protest against Speaker of the House Paul Ryan organized by the left-wing political group Democracy Spring.
As Peter Hasson of The Daily Caller reported, Justin Simmons told CNN reporter Brian Stelter that the Sinclair network’s mandate that local anchors read promos warning of "fake" and biased news was “almost forcing local news anchors to lie to their viewers.”
So how “biased” was the text the anchors read? Here’s the transcript, as per Deadspin:
Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our [local] communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [station] 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 [station] 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.
Simmons gave notice at KHGI TV on March 26, shortly after Sinclair's corporate headquarters issued the mandate to read the text. According to CNN Money, “Simmons told CNNMoney that he had been concerned about Sinclair's corporate mandates for the past year and a half, and that the promos were just the final straw.”
Simmons’ resignation letter stated he had been forced to air "several segments that have made me uncomfortable," mentioning "the news media bashing promo our local anchors have been required to read" as the most recent example. He added, "I've always kind of been on edge about Sinclair.”
That certainly makes sense given Simmons’ leftist history:
In April 2016, as Hasson noted, Simmons tweeted about his part in the protest against Ryan, writing, “When we took over @SpeakerRyan ‘s podium protesting to #GetMoneyOut at a @DemSpring protest,” linking to a video from the protest.
In May 2016, Simmons was captured in a video posted on YouTube at the rally he helped organize for Black Lives Matter, at which he stated, “Nebraska isn’t going to stand for the systemic racism that we have in our country and in our police force. Most importantly, we just want to open people’s minds and show them that the Black Lives Matter Movement is mostly peaceful.”
Simmons tweeted that interview out:
As Hasson concluded, “Simmons first joined the station ‘nearly four years ago,’ according to CNN’s report, which means he was organizing liberal protests while working as an ostensibly neutral journalist.”
Here's the video from YouTube: