Trump bashes CNN, NBC, defends Sinclair Broadcast Group after 'fake news' speeches by local anchors

Key Points
  • President Trump says Sinclair Broadcast Group is "far superior" to news outlets such as CNN and "Fake NBC, which is a total joke."
  • Sinclair is the largest broadcaster in the U.S., and owns nearly 30 NBC affiliates.
  • The company drew attention in March after dozens of reporters recited an identical speech about fake news.
Trump defends Sinclair Broadcast Group after 'fake news' speeches by local anchors

President Donald Trump on Monday touted Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns more than a dozen NBC news affiliates, as being "far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC."

The defense of Sinclair came amid a seven-tweet flurry Monday morning, in which the president weighed in on topics ranging from immigration to mega-retailer Amazon's tax status.

Trump tweet So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.

Sinclair's local broadcast networks drew national attention in March, after dozens of television anchors across the country recited an identical speech warning that some outlets are promulgating "biased and false news" in order to "push their own personal bias."

"This is extremely dangerous to our democracy," the script read.

Trump slams Amazon on Twitter again

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 CNBC's request for comment about the president's tweet.