Comments: 682 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

ryanlindbergo248 karma

Of all of the nonsense stories that you've edited, what is the worst that you can remember working on?

kelloggj707 karma

Our local news has segments called “must runs” that usually take up a 3-5 minute section of the news. In one of these must runs we have a weekly segment that airs every week featuring Boris Epshteyn. These segments are horrid, and usually feature Boris yelling at one minority or another. One time he had an unusually loud rant where he claimed that Trump was not only the best president ever, but the best we would ever have. He declared that Trump should stay in office and use the military to stay if voted out. That’s one of the worst.

GreenForTheEvening186 karma

Do you have any thoughts about how we can possibly combat the spread of propaganda in an age when people are bombarded though partisan news programs and constant social media influencing?

kelloggj273 karma

I have no idea. I wish I could give some purposefully meaningful response, but I’m at a loss. We’re moving into an age in human history where our primary means of communication at its core can’t be trusted. Everything is suspect, and it will only get worse with time and technological advancement. Artificial intelligence and deep fakes will only get better as we become more affected by the spread of misinformation. We’re a decade or so away from the first major war being started over an internet lie, and I have no idea how to stop what is being set in motion.

echoesofmymind136 karma

What are your political views, broadly speaking?

kelloggj223 karma

I’m a very liberal college student. This was the only job that allows me to go to school during the week and pull two 12 hour shifts on the weekend. If I could find anything that paid the same with the same hours I would be gone. Sadly, it’s this or nothing.

echoesofmymind85 karma

Did your feel your political views changed at all either way by the experience?

kelloggj354 karma

If anything I feel like my political views became much more strengthened. So many of these propoganda shows shout rhetoric without any real substance. People saying “Democrats are proposing policy that will destroy the US!” But they don’t talk about any policy at all. Also, as a master control operator I have seen dozens of mass shootings happen live. My station cut to a live feed of the Vegas shooting as it was happening, and I saw live as people were shot and killed in the crowd. I saw the riots in Charlottesville and when that woman was killed from a live feed. It hasn’t exactly made me a republican.

echoesofmymind46 karma

Wow thats intense

kelloggj146 karma

I’m honestly amazed we don’t receive compensation for all of the horrible raw footage we see. I’ve seen burnt bodies found after the Carr fire. Bodies taken out of crashed planes. Numerous shootings, car chases that end in crashes, etc... I’ve got 5 separate live feeds that cycle between this crap 24/7 on a nationwide scope (national if big enough of a disaster)

uniqueusername364104 karma

What was it like when that "This is extremely dangerous to our democracy" video came out?

kelloggj252 karma

I actually filmed that segment for my local station and we made it to the final meme cut that made it on John Oliver and reddit. Most of the anchors at my station did it without a fuss, but were really upset when it framed them as propaganda spokespeople. I mean, that’s what they were...but they weren’t happy about the framing.

A lot of internal emails went out saying not to talk to outside media about it.

One of the most liberal stations in Portland refused to record it, and one of their anchors was fired for it I believe.

uniqueusername36456 karma

Thank you for your answer, this is really interesting! In general do you think the people at your station/news anchors are more liberal or conservative?

When you say they were upset, do you mean they felt like they were being misrepresented by the video, or they realized what Sinclair did and were upset with them?

kelloggj130 karma

Almost all are liberal, and those who are republicans seem to be fiscal republicans. Not those drinking Trump’s koolaid. I mean they were upset that they were being misrepresented. I understand from their perspective. Many of the anchors at local TV stations do great work, and do their best to make good local stories. When they’re typecast for the one or two parent company obligations they’re forced to do it sucks.

Our anchors are almost always upset at Sinclair, but you can’t speak out against them without being barred from a huge amount of potential job opportunities. You have to tow the line or transfer to a station outside of Sinclair’s network which is becoming increasingly harder to do.

meat_trumpet99 karma

Journalist here. It's also about being forced to read something. No matter what the agenda is, being forced to publish anything goes against journalistic ethics to the core. Also these long-time anchors in these markets had to read a statement against fake news, while anchoring shows featuring must-runs that are literal fake news.

And for those who say, why not quit? Contracts require 1/3rd of your annual salary (we don't make a lot of money, walmart is catching up to our hourly wages) to quit. Most also have timed non-compete clauses. That means you either move to work in another market, or wait months if not years to maybe get hired at another station in the same market.

TV news contracts are so laughably one sided. The wages are just laughable. You pay to quit (impossible). If you somehow do, you pretty much can't work unless you uproot your life. And they can just fire you at anytime without cause. Seen kids out of college get fired during a probationary period (just not cut out for it). 3 months into a 12 month apartment lease, and spent a ton of money just to move there. Lives ruined.

So you're forced to stay. I once had a contract lawyer look over mine before and he likened it to corporate slavery.

kelloggj67 karma

The contracts are a major weight on anchors in this industry. You hit the nail on the head.

thatpj75 karma

Why did you choose to do this job?

kelloggj236 karma

I got married very young at 18, and my daughter was born when I was 19. Taking care of them overrides any stigma keeping me from taking this job for moral reasons. I have a responsibility to provide for them while going to college, and this job allows me to do that. I graduate soon and have a career job lined up, so needless to say I’m happy to be leaving soon.

In a broader sense, I’ve always been good with computers and running a TV station is just like running an expensive Spotify playlist.

hazadus55 karma

Why do you believe it benefits these news stations to have the american public dubbed into becoming right wing. Who is pulling the strings here and what is their goal?

kelloggj117 karma

It benefits Sinclair for a pretty obvious reason: trust. If Sinclair own local news stations they are investing in the trust of local people and the local news people these markets imprint on and trust. If you own the trust, you own the votes.

Maine_dudah47 karma

Thanks for bringing awareness to the subject. My coworkers watch the local news right when they get to work, most nights. I watch and laugh at the “terrorism alert desk” they have some young white christian girl talkin bout all the evil doers over there is who cares land. I tried to tell my fellow coworkers what it was, who owns the local, and how far spread it was. They looked at me like I had five heads. How do we combat this takeover of local media?

kelloggj71 karma

Oh god, don’t get me started on the terrorism alert desk. Half of the time they run out of stuff that’s “terror” related and instead just show border patrol shorts as if they’re terrorists. Maybe 1/10th if the time they’ll actually give info on an attack in the Middle East, but I swear it’s a secret tactic to get people associating “terror” with Mexico.

erbarme38 karma

Does it make you feel ethically compromised participating in and facilitating the spread of disinformation? Or do you see it just as a job to pay for school, as I see you’re a fellow (liberal) college student.

kelloggj74 karma

It’s hard to be honest. I feel extremely compromised ethically, but I also have been vocal to my family, friends, and coworkers. I called out Boris Epshtyn on Twitter and got in trouble for it, so I try not to blast the company publicly on social media. I’m only doing it now because I’m leaving so soon. I’ve touched on it in a few other replies, but I see it as the lesser of two evils. I could take the “personal ethical high ground” and never have taken the job, but then my family would suffer. My wife and daughter need a husband/father who can support them, and this is the only job with the hours and time schedule that lets me do that. If I had better options I would obviously be there.

nessager26 karma

How much would it cost for Reddit to get some propoganda on this station?

kelloggj67 karma

We have so few people willing to pay for commercials in this day and age we sell some paid program slots for about $200-$500 per half hour program. Realistically reddit could probably buy some serious ad space with a modest Kickstarter, but I’m not sure my market is where it would get a lot of traction.

ComplexDraft25 karma

How do we stop misinformation or propaganda before people are hurt? Do you feel like a race war is possible in the current political climate? Do you think rationality and empathy, morals are enough to stop dangerous lies and/or beliefs like racism, fascism?

kelloggj60 karma

In order to stop lies and misinformation we have to teach everyone to be researchers. If you read anything online and it gets you riled up or questioning “what?” “Why” or it even outraged you, we need people looking up the facts on multiple sites before instinctively reacting. Do I know how to teach this to an entire country? Hell no.

Could a race war happen? I’m very white, and have always had a certain amount of privilege even when homeless as a child. I’m not an expert at of it could happen, but I don’t want it to.

I think that being empathetic and rational can stop racism and racism, but only if we are a united front. I talked about it in a separate reply, but I saw the entire Charlottesville nazi March on a live feed while it happened. The nazis were outnumbered 10-1 and someone still died. We can fight the hate, but we all have to be vocal NOW. Not later.

Again, I’m not a professional on race. I just work at a TV station.

fairshoulders19 karma

Whenever my mother would leave a job, she would always leave with binders full of internal memos and dirt on their processes. She could then use that info to excell in her next job. It is a similar maneuver to the "buy two kinds of holiday cards and copy the greeting from one to the other as the handwritten greeting" maneuver.

So my question is, what are you going to take with you from Sinclair?

Also, be sure to use up your vacation and ill time before you go. It eases the transition and ensures you get its value.

kelloggj27 karma

Since my new job will be quite a different area of expertise the best thing I can take with me is “I worked at a TV station for three years” (keeping the Sinclair part to myself) and use that as my badge of honor that I know how to use technology well.

All of the systems we use are hodgepodge together from decades and decades of technology spanning from the 1970’s to the present, so there’s no modern skills I can really take other than my ability to google vintage tech really well by now.

As a part time employee I get no official vacation or sick time, so it’s more of a final countdown until I’m free at this point.

Dyanpanda17 karma

As said in another thread, You say you are liberal.

Do you have have issues furthering a false agenda you are opposed to? How do you mediate that?

kelloggj62 karma

Of course I have issues with it. I’m not choosing between this job and a fast food job though. There is almost nothing hiring in my area, and I need to survive somehow. It isn’t something I’m just okay with either. Every time one of these segments comes on I hate it...every time. Mediation is mostly met though an internal understanding that I’ll be done soon, and I can tell people to never watch the station in public.

I feel I’m going to get downvoted for speaking my truth, but I’m not a single dude that can live without a job for a few months. I have a family, and taking care of them comes before my personal beliefs.

plankmeister11 karma

Can't you switch out some clips for something less.... damaging?

kelloggj59 karma

They call them “must runs” because if we don’t run them we literally get fined by Sinclair. We literally have to write up paperwork each time a single commercial doesn’t air like it’s supposed to. In Sinclair’s eyes it would be like not wearing gloves and making a subway sandwich for a customer.

druidl8 karma

How do you think people can actually believe the things that come out of these 'must run' segments?

kelloggj47 karma

It’s a huge and complex web of things that lead into it. First, a lot of older people still watch TV. We just started airing a new 1 hour propaganda show called “America this week” with Eric Boling (Bolling?) that airs at 12am. It’s filled with Pro Trump stooges like Sebastian Gorka who keep peddling the misinformation.

I think the bigger problem is the US has a huge internet infrastructure divide. If you live on the west/east coast or in a major city you probably watch Netflix and can escape what TV has become. However if you live in a rural county you probably don’t have the option to go digital yet. A lot of people forget that.

People believe these segments because they air next to the local TV faces people imprint on and “trust”. Without access to a variety of sources and info people will believe who they trust whether it is right or wrong.

taylorsaysso27 karma

Your observation on the digital divide is so prescient. It was never quite clear why Trump's FCC backed off of rural broadband expansion so aggressively, as it hurt "the base." Costs for corporations was the obvious answer, but consider that keeping the base out of touch with reality only helps to cement power. The Republican establishment has really gone "whole hog" on being heinous fucks.

kelloggj28 karma

It’s only going to get worse, because not only are we not expanding broadband, we’re not keeping existing lines in operating conditions. I’m really worried Trump is going to pass an infrastructure bill that only fixes roads and bridges (which obviously needs to be done) but he’ll purposefully omit anything aiding internet infrastructure. I’m hoping Elon’s starlink program will help, but we need real action on this ASAP.

ElbowDeepInIt-7 karma

Are you the guy that made the transgender school shooting disappear so fast, or the guy that approves the gaslighting operation to convince people Trump said white supremacists are very fine people?

kelloggj18 karma

That’s way above my pay grade dude.

flamingboard-19 karma

How much did your soul cost when they bought it?

kelloggj18 karma

Wait, do you mean I was the one who got to set the price!? I’m just now learning this!?