Local News Should Unite, Not Divide - And Response

Saturday, March 10, 2018

I love the authenticity of our local news in Chattanooga. I love the lead-off stories about animals, the local reporters covering local stories about Chattanoogans and the light banter between the local anchors who we have grown to know and love. 

The successful local news shows are anchored by those individuals who touch our Chattanooga heart, those with a finger on the pulse of our community. 

Local news is personal. It is authentic. It involves us. Our stories. Our people. Our heroes. Our villains. 

We understand this. 

But Sinclair Media Group, the owner of WTVC Channel 9 and Fox First News at 10, has changed all that. 

Intentionally. Without apology. In front of our faces. 

It’s no longer local news. It’s local news with an agenda behind it. 

Sinclair Media Group’s First News at 10 airs the “Terrorism Alert Desk”from Washington, DC, to report the daily propaganda reminding us to be scared. Very scared. 

Along with frightful stories, the “Terrorism Alert Desk” is flush with a red background and ominous background music intentionally used to manipulate our feelings. Sinclair Media Group wants us to feel threatened. 

Lock your doors. Don’t trust your neighbors. Don’t speak to people who do not look like you. 

Divisiveness must be good for ratings. 

But we live in a country built upon the God-inspired notion that we are all in this together. 

One Nation. 

Under God. 

Indivisible. 

It’s impossible to love your neighbor as yourself if you are reminded by local news every night of how afraid you should be of that neighbor. 

I remind Sinclair Media Group that although we are a country of individuals we are a country indivisible. 

To add insult to injury, along with the “Terrorism Alert Desk,” Sinclair Media Group adds a nightly commentary to its local news broadcast. 

When was the last time you watched a commentary of any kind on WRCB or WDEF local news? 

Sinclair Media Group interrupts our local news with an editorial commentary given by Boris the Russian, a former Trump campaign official. 

These commentaries are always about a toxic subject matter intentionally chosen to tear us apart, not bring us together. 

And that is the opposite of what local news should be doing. 

Local news should strive to unite our community in times of sorrow and uplift us in times of joy. Local stations do this by simply reporting our local news, not by attempting to influence how we should react to it. 

I hate to admit that I watch Boris the Russian’s commentaries in the same way I find myself rubber-necking driving by a traffic accident. 

In each commentary, Boris the Russian reads from a script and articulates with a heavy Slavic-accent as if his mouth were full of yellow-jackets. 

Boris the Russian speaks with passion of a man with a gun to his head. You will witness more passion at an emissions inspection. 

I have seen better production quality in hostage negotiation films. These commentaries are not filmed in HD, so the film quality as what you would expect as a prisoner of war watching those indoctrination films. 

But the poor production quality does not obscure the intent of Sinclair Media Group’s message: divide, not unite. 

Aren’t we already divided enough? 

And we certainly do not need it during our local news. 

The sad thing is that WTVC has no control over the airing of the “Terrorism Alert Desk” and Boris the Russian’s editorials. Sinclair Media Group forces WTVC to preempt its local news broadcast every night with divisive and hateful political commentary. 

WTVC has lost its local authenticity by succumbing to the corporate interests of a large media empire, intentionally using our local news to further its narrow and hateful political agenda intending to split us apart as a community. 

We are all called to be better than what Sinclair Media Group is urging each of us to be. 

Please watch Sinclair Media Group’s “Terrorism Alert Desk” and Boris the Russian’s commentaries and decide for yourself whether you would rather see something real and authentic about Chattanooga instead of hateful political propaganda during your local news. 

If you do, change the station. 

#chattanoogastrong 

C. Mark Warren 

* * *

I agree 100 percent with Mr. Warren's comments of March 10. I have been a loyal watcher of WTVC news for 40 years, but I now no longer watch it. I am not interested in Boris's propaganda, nor do I care what Boris thinks about any subject whatsoever.

Just give me the news. 

Michael Fincher


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