In a public statement released Monday afternoon, Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s vice president of news, said that the script “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.”
Livingston has defended his company against accusations of bias before. In 2016, Jared Kushner informed a group of business executives that his father-in-law’s presidential campaign struck a deal to achieve more favorable news coverage, Politico reported shortly after the election.
Livingston, told Politico at the time that the offer for extended interviews with local broadcasters was also made to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton herself did not participate, though her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., gave multiple interviews.
Sinclair, which owns or operates 193 television stations, is the largest broadcaster in the U.S.
The New York Times reported in August that Sinclair’s chairman had discussed relaxing regulations on television advertising with Ajit Pai, who became the Federal Communications Commission chairman soon after.
During Pai’s first 10 days on the job, he rolled back the Obama-era restriction on sharing ad revenue and other resources among television stations, according to records of the exchange.
The company is currently seeking approval from the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission for a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media.
While Sinclair owns more than a dozen NBC affiliates, Trump in his tweet said the broadcasting group is “far superior” to NBC, “which is a total joke.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group did not immediately respond to Giftofaservant’s request for comment about the president’s tweet.