Turn Off 10, a campaign coordinated by the Rhode Island Kent County ReSisters and Indivisible Rhode Island protested outside Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses at 1681 Quaker Lane in West Warwick because of the company’s continued advertising on the Sinclair Broadcast Group‘s television station. About 30 people attended the protest.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is an American telecommunications company. The company is the largest television station operator in the United States by number of stations and total coverage. Since taking ownership of WJAR, Sinclair Media Group has mandated that WJAR include two minutes of right-wing or pro-Trump propaganda in local news broadcasts nine times a week.
In March a new mandate was announced according to internal Sinclair memos leaked to CNN. It is called an “anchor delivered journalistic responsibility message.” Local television journalists are now required to read pro-Trump messages on the air calling into question the integrity of major media outlets. This is intended to echo President Donald Trump’s claims that much of the major media news coverage is “fake news,” eroding the confidence of news consumers.
Since complaints sent to WJAR/10 and Sinclair Broadcast Group have been ignored, Turn Off 10 has begun to target station advertisers. Cardi’s Furniture, whose owners, the Cardi Brothers, are local celebrities, is one of the station’s largest advertisers. Earlier this month Peter Cardi spoke with Bob Plain at RI Future:
“We looked at the whole station and said if we pull them, then we are liable,” Peter Cardi said in an interview with RI Future. “Those guys are sue crazy – not the local guys, the national guys.”
“We gave them our opinion as bluntly as we could,” he said. “We don’t like it. Our opinion is news is news. We don’t want it slanted one way or another.”
This isn’t enough for Turn Off 10. Their Facebook event stated, “We believe in the integrity of the free press and stand ADAMANTLY against forced propaganda which imminently threatens OUR VERY DEMOCRACY!”
Cardi’s replied with a “no comment” when I went inside.
During the protest, a smaller group broke off and protested WJAR/10 advertiser Speedcraft Auto Group a short distance away at 883 Quaker Lane in West Warwick.
Turn Off 10 have twice targeted WJAR offices on 23 Kenney Drive in Cranston:
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