Yesterday evening, Portland news station KATU posted this gem to Facebook: “Hi, it’s Anna Canzano KATU. Does it bug you to see President Obama taking in college hoops with his family today (even if he was watching the OSU) ?” Within minutes, Canzano’s post was inundated with comments from KATU’s Facebook followers that ran the gamut from angry to disappointed to genuinely concerned for Canzano’s professional integrity. Readers were–unsurprisingly–shocked by the very transparent attempt at besmirching the President while hiding behind the pretense of journalism. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Canzano made matters worse by trying to dismiss the heated criticism. She was simply asking a question, she claimed:
Many commenters were concerned that Canzano would get in trouble with her employers for exposing such a high degree of right-wing bias in the KATU newsroom. Alas, it’s much more likely that Canzano was–directly or indirectly–encourage to post just this sort of thing by the station’s owners. Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns KATU, “has a history of using its stations to promote a conservative messages and also attempted to influence the 2004 election in favor of the Republican Party,” according to Media Matters.
Sinclair used to produce and distribute a one-minute commentary segment called “The Point,” hosted by Sinclair vice president Mark Hyman. Broadcast on Sinclair stations nationwide, “The Point” regularly attacked progressives while promoting conservative misinformation on issues like social security,Hurricane Katrina, and health care. The segment ceased production in 2006, but Hyman’s right-wing commentaries resumed in 2010 as “Behind The Headlines with Mark Hyman,” which currently airs on several Sinclair-owned stations.
And you might remember the incident in 2004, when Sinclair preempted regular programming to air the Swift Boat attack on Sen. John Kerry, just days before the presidential election. That same year, the network refused to air an episode of Nightline that featured the names of the servicemen and women killed in Iraq. That said, someone in the KATU newsroom apparently thought Canzano was way out of line: That comment has since been deleted.