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

CNBC logo CNBC 4/2/2018 Kevin Breuninger

President Donald Trump on Monday touted Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns more than two 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.

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.

Sinclair, which owns or operates 193 television stations, is the largest broadcaster in the U.S.

Jared Kushner informed a group of business executives in 2016 that his father-in-law's presidential campaign struck a deal to achieve more favorable news coverage, Politico reported shortly after the election.

Donald J. Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by CNBC

Sinclair's vice president of news, Scott 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-Minn., gave multiple interviews.

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 nearly 30 local NBC affiliates, Trump in his tweet said that 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.


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