The Sinclair broadcast group falls for fake news

An alert reader (Mrs. J, actually) spotted an oddball story on the KEYE-TV/Austin website a couple days ago, about nine dangerous ingredients in Coca-Cola, credited to “Mission Possible World Health International”. We’re talking seriously loopy stuff, featuring dire warnings about various chemicals found in Coke that put you at risk for everything from Alzheimer’s to MS (a main villain, but far from the only one is aspartame, which is alleged to convert to methanol in the body and fry your optic nerves).

I posted the link to a skeptics’ Facebook group as an example of credulous stupidity. The link no longer works (you get a hmm-we-can’t-find-this-link page). When you do a Google search on “mission possible nine ingredients coca cola” it turns up links to the same story on at least half a dozen other TV station websites posted within the last few days - every one of them members of the Sinclair group, and all the links are now broken with the same hmm-we-can’t-find-this-link page showing up.

It turns out that “Mission Possible World Health International” is the brainchild of Betty Martini, a nutty conspiracy-fomenter who not only promotes anti-aspartame craziness but is anti-vaccine, anti-fluoride - you name it. She has also been linked to the Nancy Markle chain e-mail hoax whose claims overlap quite a bit with the Mission Possible article.

So it looks like the Sinclair group got bamboozled en masse by this nonsense and then tried to send all the postings down the memory hole (as of Thursday night it had missed this reference).

A bastion of Trump support* gets taken in by an epic case of fake news.

I can’t stop laughing.

*at least until the FCC killed its big merger plan.

I thought that the other party, Tribune Corp, killed the big merger plan. At least that’s the way I heard it on NPR today.

As for that story, some editor somewhere wanted to believe it was true and posted it without checking. More likely to happen in an organization like Sinclair, where I suspect independent thinking is not a highly prized characteristic of staff members. Anyway, that’s something that I want to believe is true.

The FCC had already voted unanimously against the merger, referring it to an administrative law judge who was unlikely to revive it.

I wonder how and when it dawned on someone at Sinclair HQ that the Coca-Cola story was bogus and they’d better order all the affiliates to kill it.