Sinclair Broadcasting Fires Meteorologist Joe Crain For Going Off Script
“So keep in mind, despite the fact this facility is owned by a corporation [SBG] it’s still licensed under the authority by the Federal Communications Commission to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. So you still have a voice, keep those cards and letters coming.”
The controversial Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) which formed a joint venture with the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB) entitled Marquee Sports Network in February is currently under examination after firing a meteorologist working for one of their affiliates.
According to its website, SBG operates 191 local television news affiliates throughout the United States. “Sinclair is the leading local news provider in the country, as well as a producer of sports content. Sinclair owns multicast networks, four radio stations and a cable network.”
SBG’s handling of the situation with popular meteorologist Joe Crain is causing an uproar in his community of Springfield, Illinois.
Last week, Crain who was a mainstay on WICS NewsChannel 20 news broadcasts in Springfield for several years addressed public concerns over “Code Red” marketing SBG required the station to use during its news broadcasts. On the segment Crain stated:
A lot of people are not happy with this since we’ve implemented it. That’s evident by the thousands of comments on social media, letters to the editor and frequent calls to local talk-radio shows. We’ve heard you, and yes, we realize you have some strong and passionate views about it. And as far as the Code Red name goes, we get that too. I certainly do, when you hear Code Red, you think, as they say, ‘the feces is about to hit the fan.’
So that being said, we understand your concerns, and we want you to know that we take them very seriously. I don’t take myself very seriously, but I do take my job seriously and my responsibility to the public. So we want you to know, it’s not us. This is a corporate initiative the Code Red alert, and behind the scenes, many of us have tried to sway it for the last few months to try something else that’s less controversial to the viewers; and it continues to be controversial based on all the social media that continues to this day. So keep in mind, despite the fact this facility is owned by a corporation [SBG] it’s still licensed under the authority by the Federal Communications Commission to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. So you still have a voice, keep those cards and letters coming.
You can watch the full segment by Crain below:
Michael Padovano, a spokesperson for SBG told AccuWeather in an email that Crane, “is no longer with the station” after the on-air comments made on June 5th. While Crain has not publicly commented on the situation there has been an outpour of support for the broadcast meteorologist.
Change.org petition to bring Crain back to WICS NewsChannel 20 has begun to circulate and has over 770 signatures at the publication of this article.
Sinclair’s News Practices
In April 2018 there was public outcry after Deadspin released a video of SBG anchors across the United States reading the same script, often pushing right-wing talking points; under the guise of objective factual statements.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
It’s likely the ‘Code Red’ initiative was apart of a similar program which SBG enforced on its on-air employees.