Sinclair's CEO says he's sorry – not about the controversial promos that had to read local anchors, but about the "politically motivated attacks" that followed.
Threats, personal confrontation and trolling in the social media, I'm really sorry you had to endure such an experience, "CEO Chris Ripley said in a memo to employees on Tuesday.
" As an organization, it's However, it is important that we do not harass extremists on either side of the political fence because they do not like what they hear or see, "Ripley added.
Disappointed employees shared the memo with CNNMoney, the morale is low and the frustration in Sinclair's local broadcasters are high as promos and management have managed the situation.
While Ripley accused outsiders of "attacks," the controversy began when Sinclair employees voiced concerns about a media-effective advertising campaign Local markets were uncomfortable reading the script, which reflected some of President Trump's anti-media talk topics Promos were a nationwide mandate known as "must-runs".
Last month, CNNMoney reported on anchor concerns and Deadspin compiled the promos into a video that made dozens of local journalists sound like robots.
Some liberal interest groups took advantage of the controversy to renew resistance to Sinclair's upcoming acquisition of Tribune Media. But the opposition to the promos started from the inside.
The Sinclair management continues to defend the initiative.
Sinclair Chairman David Smith told the Guardian newspaper that the controversy was "the most absurd thing I've ever seen in my life."
This kind of commentary has led to disapproval of the management of local broadcasters.
CNNMoney reported on Monday that many employees believe that the company's response to criticism was at best deaf.
Ripley's memo was the last attempt to respond.
He began by saying that "the practice of on-air personalities following a script is not typical for Sinclair, but the recoil we got for it is certainly."
(However, some local officials felt that the promo requirements were unprecedented and made them uncomfortable.)
Ripley's memo also promoted innovation and experimentation in local broadcasting.
He wrote: Sinclair will continue to combine "the best of the local broadcast model with the best of the network model, which will put more criticism on [sic] because" no other local TV stations do it that way. "However, those who do not respond to the call for innovation are sucked into the black hole, which is a great technology that consumes every segment of the media universe."
This comment indicates that the Sinclair management team continues "Must run" programming will be sent to local stations. Frustrated journalists say the "must-runs" often contain bias and have a conservative bias.
Ripley closed his note and said, "I apologize if you were personally affected by last week's attacks."
Here is the full memo from Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley to the staff:
That knows For many of you, the past week has been a challenge as broadcasters have been at the brunt of politically motivated attacks on our news advertising. As you know, the practice of on-air personalities following a script is not just Sinclair's own, but the recoil we received is certainly. I'm really sorry that you have to endure such an experience to make bad phone calls, threats, personal confrontations, and trolling on social media. However, as an organization, it is important that we do not allow extremists on either side of the political fence to harass us because they do not like what they hear or see.
On Friday, Scott Livingston and I had a news director meeting to answer questions about the field situation. At the end of the conference call, I wrote a summary of our commitment to the local community, which I would like to paraphrase for those who were not in conversation.
There are four key sources in the TV business: 1) radio spectrum, 2) programming / distribution contracts, 3) local news / content, and 4) local sales / relationships. Because of our unique engineering talent and industry leadership in Next Generation TV (ATSC3.0), Sinclair is best known for its range, which often leads to the perception that we do not value the local aspects of the business. This perception is not consistent with the value drivers in the industry. In fact, two of the four value drivers in this business are located locally.
As we enter a time of unprecedented media change and disruption, it's more important than ever to focus on providing our local communities and businesses with the best programming and marketing services available. Those who do not do well and are not innovative will not be in business in 5-10 years. This means that we can not be satisfied with the status quo that TV broadcasting has operated in the past. To this end, Sinclair will continue to pursue new and innovative strategies, including our hybrid approach of bringing the best of the local broadcasting model together with the best of the network model, which will undoubtedly expose us to more criticism because "no other local TV station does so Wise." However, those who do not respond to the call for innovation are sucked into the black hole, which is a great technology that consumes every segment of the media universe. Unlike much of the uninformed coverage of Sinclair, we are not a monopoly and have no material market power, even against Internet standards. We just have a big table with competitors and potential substitutes. A place to earn by focusing on the needs of our local viewers and local advertisers.
So, I want to make it clear that service and commitment to our local Sinclair communities is a top priority. It's an important strategic asset to our business, and often the reason why others value us in the media ecosystem. Once again, I apologize if you were personally affected by last week's attacks.
CNNMoney (New York) First published on April 10, 2018: 2:38 pm ET