On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers. Central Illinois and Springfield were no exception, as our local Sinclair owned Newschannel 20 is featured in the new video released by Deadspin. (watch the video below)
It included a warning about fake news, a promise to report fairly and accurately and a request that viewers go to the station’s website and comment “if you believe our coverage is unfair.”
It may not have seemed strange to individual viewers. But Timothy Burke, the video director at Deadspin, had read a report last month from CNN, which quoted local station anchors who were uncomfortable with the speech.
Mr. Burke tracked down the Sinclair affiliates and found when they had aired what he called a “forced read.”
He then decided to stitch together the various local broadcasts to create a supercut of robot anchors eerily echoing the same lines, with things like:
“The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.”
“Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias.”
“This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
The script came from Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest broadcaster, which owns or operates 193 television stations. The company is seeking a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media, a move that’s being held up by regulators over antitrust concerns.
Some Reactions from Political Advertisers
A Democratic candidate in Kentucky said Monday that she will pull her campaign ads from a local Sinclair station and called on other Democrats to do the same.
If you’re not following this story, see the following link from Deadspin that edited dozens of local news anchors from across the country reading the same Sinclair-mandated script last weekhttps://t.co/6EqvEeBCgm
I’ve just put out the following statement to the media: pic.twitter.com/qJ4245BvpY
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) April 2, 2018
For Sinclair, it was the latest show of the vast reach of a company that owns local TV stations across the country and has long been criticized for pushing conservative coverage and commentary onto local airwaves.
Mayor’s Youth Council holds first talent show
Students from around Springfield gathered last night to showcase their musical and artistic talents. Students from Springfield High, Lanphier, Southeast, SHG, Lutheran High, and even nearby Williamsville all came out for the friendly competition. The idea for the program came from the students themselves. They noticed that there is a “siloing” effect, where students only really get a chance to interact with others who attend the same school. This talent show was an opportunity to help build those inter-school connections.
In all, thirteen performers and six visual artists took part in the night’s events. Although music was the most common talent, there were also dancers and a juggler. The students performed in a packed room at the Lincoln Public Library. You can watch the full show in the player.
The Youth Council was one of Mayor Langfelder’s initiatives. These students meet with the mayor to discuss issues impacting them. Not all of the performers were members of the council. Developing today’s youth is valuable not only now, but also in ensuring young people wholeave the area for college want to return in the future.
Although the competition was a friendly one, three winners were selected from the contestants in the performing and visual arts. Colin Gwillim, Kennedy Green, and Zoey House, placed first, second and third in the visual arts. Colton Schmidt (the juggler) and Gerald Cole (dance) were honorable mentions in the performing arts. Sydney Moore placed third, Walker Dial, placed second, and Wynton Gage placed first. All three are singers.
The timestamps for the performers are:
1:12 – Gerard Cole (Lanphier)
7:35 – Walker Dial (Lutheran High)
10:50 – Sydney Moore (Springfield High)
17:15 – Maria Harmon (SHG)
19:10 – Mika Henderson (Lutheran High)
22:40 – Regina Ivy (Southeast)
27:30 – Nia Tiller, Mia White, & Cody Flesch (Lanphier)
32:30 – O.P. Jones (Southeast)
38:44 – Hannah Garrad (Williamsville)
42:40 – Wynton Gage (Southeast)
48:00 – Colton Schmidt (SHG)
53:37 – Gerard Cole & Wynton Gage
Southeast honored at Springfield City Council
Southeast High School has had a lot to celebrate this year, and the Springfield City Council took notice. First, Wynton Gage was honored for his poetry reading. Wynton will soon attend the national Poetry Out Loud contest in Washington DC. After being recognized by the Mayor, he performed Emily Brontë’s “Often rebuked, yet always back returning.” You can watch it below.
The Southeast Basketball team was also celebrated. They made it all the way to the state final; the furthest the team has ever gone. Their season ended 26-4.
Other city business handled tonight was the TIFF district on Lumber Lane. Alderman McMenamin raised the issue of supporting a new business with TIFF support when that new business would compete with existing businesses in Springfield. Alderwoman Turner answered saying that the new business would actually be located within the city limits, while the competitors had fought to stay outside the city legally but not geographically. That vote passed 10-0.
Allen Reyne was formally appointed to the position of Fire Chief of the Springfield Fire Department. Alderman Theilen discussed amending either the language or the interpretation of the dog barking ordinance, due to complaints about noise. He also said that he was aware of the issues withe Chatham Road, and that it was being worked on.
Plans to add a tourism office on the Old State Capitol Plaza were also discussed. This office would be shared with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which manages many Lincoln sites. It is thought that by having the office located more centrally, it will be better able to serve tourists.
In other Lincoln news, the fate of Lincoln’s internment document. This is the original handwritten document detailing Lincoln’s placement in his tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The city owns this document. The presidential library was seen as the best place to protect the artifact, Alderman Theilen wanted to ensure the city did not lose de facto ownership of the item.
Gun owners rally at Capitol to support Second Amendment
A coalition of pro-Second Amendment groups rallied at the capitol Saturday afternoon. Despite the rain, more than 100 people attended the rally organized by the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans (NCCPA). The Springfield rally was part of a nationwide event protesting recently proposed gun control legislation.
Tom Shafer and Corey Proctor spoke about three bills in particular that are especially worrying for gun owners, HB 1664, HB 1465, and HB 1469. HB 1664 would allow police to seize an individual’s guns based on an anonymous tip that the gun owner was a threat to themselves or others. Shafer described this as not only an attack on the Second Amendment, but also a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment which protects against unreasonable search and seizures. He laid out several cases where such a system could be easily abused by individuals with a grudge against a gun owner.
Other individuals from around the state spoke about their personal reasons for supporting gun rights and the Second Amendment. The need for self defense against random crime was a common theme, but the threat from a tyrannical government was also mentioned frequently. The Holodomor famines in the Soviet Union were mentioned, and Larry Williams from Peoria discussed examples far closer to home. You can watch his speech on the fate of Native Americans below:
The NCCPA event was the smaller of the two pro-Second Amendment rallies planned this week. In addition to the weather, Shafer blamed scaremongering in the local media for the lower turnout. He told me there was never any plan for open carry at this event, and no one did. The Illinois State Rifle Association’s (ISRA) Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD) will be held at the Bank of Springfield Center this coming Wednesday, April 25th. Several thousand people are expected to attend IGOLD.
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