Montana Dem candidate to run anti-Sinclair ads on Sinclair stations

A Democratic House candidate in Montana is launching a television ad bashing Sinclair broadcasting that will run on Sinclair-owned stations starting Monday.

John Heenan, who is running to unseat Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteKathleen Williams, Matt Rosendale to face off for Montana House seat Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary Key races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries MORE (R), accuses the broadcasting company of taking “advantage of journalists, our democracy, and the people of Montana” in the ad.

“This station is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, a powerful corporation that forces its journalists to read corporate talking points on the air,” Heenan says in the ad.

“To me, it’s about the people, not the powerful,” he adds.

Sinclair has come under fire in recent weeks after requiring local news anchors to read a script criticizing other media outlets and warning viewers of “fake news.”

Some candidates in other states have pulled their ads from Sinclair stations in response to the video.


The manager for one of the stations running the ad told The Associated Press that they “don’t turn away candidate ads,” and would run Heenan’s as scheduled.

Heenan told the AP that he wanted to run the ad as a way to show support for Sinclair employees.

“It’s troubling when we as the viewers trust what journalists tell us, particularly when we watch local news,” he said. “Journalists are required to read from a script under threat of their jobs. I know that troubles me and I’m not the only one.”

Gianforte, the Republican Heenan and three other Democrats are running to unseat, drew national attention after allegedly body-slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs to the ground. He later pleaded guilty to assault charges.

Frederick Smith, the director of Sinclair, has donated to Gianforte, including giving $1,000 the day after he attacked the reporter.

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