Democratic Congressional Candidate Pulls Campaign Ads in Sinclair Boycott

A Democratic candidate for Congress in Kentucky pulled her campaign advertisements from a television station owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group in light of its controversial fake news warning.

Amy McGrath, a retired Marine who faces a tough primary race, announced on Monday that she instructed her campaign team to remove ads on WDKY-TV, which Sinclair owns, as soon as possible.

Dozens of local news anchors were required to read a script warning of “biased and false news” that many considered similar to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric. The script noted that "some media outlets publish these same fake stories...stories that just aren't true, without checking facts first.”

“Sinclair’s corporate-mandated ‘must-read’ right-wing script on its nearly 200 television stations about ‘fake news’ is itself an extreme danger to our Democracy and eerily mimics the propaganda efforts that authoritarian regimes often use to control the media in their own country,” McGrath said in a statement.

McGrath assured that funding from nearly 20,000 donors she has received “will never be used to enrich these chilling right-wing efforts to stifle the critical role of local journalism to advance their narrow ideological and political agenda.”

She called on Democratic candidates to refuse to buy advertising time on Sinclair stations and stand against “this frightening development to our Democracy” through a boycott.

Sinclair, which owns or operates close to 200 television stations nationwide, is waiting for approval from the government to acquire Tribune Media in a $3.9 billion deal that would allow it to cover 72 percent of households in the U.S.

McGrath Campaign Manager Mark Nickolas told CNN that their media buyer said WDKY-TV would refund their ad purchases for the remainder of the week and that her campaign messages would not air on the station after Monday.

"It's happening right now," Nickolas said.

If McGrath advances in the Democratic primary, she would face Republican Representative Andy Barr, who has held Kentucky’s 6th congressional district since 2013.