A Democratic congressional candidate will pull her campaign ads from local Sinclair-owned television stations, in response to new controversy over the right-leaning media conglomerate’s practices.
“Today, I have instructed my campaign team to cease and pull all campaign advertising on WDKY-TV (Channel 56), the Sinclair-owned television station in our congressional district, as soon as possible,” Amy McGrath, an ex-Marine running in Kentucky’s 6th congressional district, wrote in her statement.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, McGrath said that they had heard from the network and the ads are coming down with a full refund on the way to the campaign.
Sinclair came under fire this weekend after Deadspin created an eerie compilation video showing local anchors at Sinclair-owned networks reading from the same promo script decrying “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.”
The script was reportedly given to Sinclair’s nearly 200 television stations for required on-air reading.
“Sinclair’s corporate-mandated ‘must-read’ right-wing script on its nearly 200 television stations about ‘fake news’ is itself an extreme danger to our Democracy and eerily mimics the propaganda efforts that authoritarian regimes often use to control the media in their own country,” Wright lamented in her statement.
“The nearly 20,000 grassroots donors who have contributed to my campaign should have the expectation that their financial support will never be used to enrich these chilling right-wing efforts to stifle the critical role of local journalism to advance their narrow ideological and political agenda.”
Asked whether she was concerned that taking down the ads could give her opponents more opportunity to air their own ads unchallenged, McGrath said she weighed that as part of a calculated decision.
“I realize that I’m not going to reach certain people at certain times by doing this,” McGrath told The Daily Beast. “You’ve got to do the right thing and I think the right thing was to stand and say this is wrong.” She said the campaign has a new ad that will launch Tuesday on a different network.
McGrath also called on her fellow Democratic candidates to follow suit. The Daily Beast has reached out to other congressional candidates to see if they plan to follow her.