Home Local Politics After Latest “News” Story by Sinclair (WJLA TV7), the “pro-Trump, conservative company...

After Latest “News” Story by Sinclair (WJLA TV7), the “pro-Trump, conservative company taking over local news,” Loudoun4All Calls Them Out For “smearing Democratic politicians”

Sinclair "reporter" interviews person who "made comments about LGTBQ+ people calling them immoral and unnatural"

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See below for a statement, from Loudoun4Aall, about the latest from right-wing Sinclair Media (WJLA TV7 in the DC area) and its “journalist,” Nick Minock (actually a former Trump administration official who regularly churns out anti-Democratic/pro-Republican hit pieces…including in the leadup to the 2022 midterm elections, in which he frequently attacked Rep. Jennifer Wexton and Rep. Abigail Spanberger while essentially acting as a campaign spokedman for far-right Republicans Hung Cao and Yesli Vega). And just remember, when you read, listen to, watch or otherwise “consume” news media, make sure you know who and what that media is all about…in this case, Sinclair is the “pro-Trump, conservative company taking over local news.” So treat its “news” accordingly…

Loudoun4All Calls for Journalistic Integrity

Once again, the right wing is trying to ensure Loudoun is in the news over charges full of misinformation, taking inappropriate comments that were made by two people and immediately condemned by the larger group, and trying to turn that into a major scandal for our elected officials. Election season is starting and we are being subjected to a useless media frenzy aimed at hurting Democratic politicians, this time started by Sinclair Media and specifically, reporter Nick Minock.

Minock released a report tonight about comments made 6 months ago in a social media group chat. These comments included threats made toward Loudoun resident Mark Winn after he publicly threatened LGTBQ+ people at an LCPS school board meeting last December. Both the threats made by Winn and by the two members of the chat are unacceptable and should be condemned.

Let’s be absolutely clear before we even begin, Loudoun4All whole-heartedly and without exception condemns comments made by anyone at any time that could incite violence. There is absolutely no excuse for this from anyone.

However, the story that Nick Minock broke tonight isn’t really about protecting people from violence. Its focus seems to be on smearing Democratic politicians, who, by Nick Minock’s own admission, did not make or in any way condone any of the threats in the article. From what we can find, all of the threats cited in the article were made by two people who are not affiliated with any of the politicians mentioned.

Let’s take a moment to look at the actual facts, and then we can look at how Minock presented the information.

  • A group chat called “Loudoun Love Warriors” was created by a few community members to promote charitable causes in Loudoun and spread love and kindness through the community. It was used to encourage community support of Title I schools, blood drives, and other community efforts.
  • The creators of the chat added numerous civic minded community members, including many elected officials (and several board members of Loudoun4All). In a group chat, members are directly added, they do not request to join or need to accept an invitation.
  • In December of 2022 a man named Mark Winn spoke before the school board and made comments about LGTBQ+ people calling them immoral and unnatural and closed his speech by saying, “Again I say to you, if any man or woman causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for a millstone to be put around your neck and thrown into the lake.” Video of the speech by Mark Winn. Two people in the Loudoun Love Warriors Chat made comments, including “Im soooo ready to show up with guns lol” and “His life needs to be PERMANENTLY disassembled.” Minock does not name the commenters, but seems to imply that there were many of them.
  • Many members of the Loudoun Love Warriors chat expressed that the comments being made were completely inappropriate. All board members of Loudoun4All left the chat at the time, as did many other members. Minock fails to mention this in his “story”.

Now let’s look at how the facts were spun to target elected officials:

  • The story ran on Sinclair media with photos of numerous elected officials saying “Loudoun Campaign Operatives Target Residents” with a tiny asterisk saying that “None of the elected officials shown is accused of making threats” at the beginning of the video. Let’s say that again with emphasis: None of the elected officials shown is accused of making threats. The video then continues to run their photos without the asterisk.
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  • Sinclair themselves has acknowledged that none of the elected officials made threats, yet Sinclair has centered their entire reporting around these elected officials.
  • Nick Minock states that The Loudoun Love Warriors Chat included people who appear to be associated with elected officials but does not name anyone making threats or explain how they might be connected to any officials. Looking at an archive of the chat, we can see who made the comments, and they do not work for any elected official.
  • Minock also mentions by name an elected official who had left the chat BEFORE any alleged comments were made. It is absurd to mention this official at all given that they weren’t even in the chat when the comments were made.
  • Nick focuses on Mark Winn, who was the target of the threats and implies that multiple people were threatened because they spoke at School Board Meetings, even though the threats all seem to be centered on Winn’s comment at one meeting. Minock does not mention that the comment made by Winn was itself threatening. Loudoun4All condemns both the threats to Winn as well as Winn’s own threat, where he called LGTBQ+ people unnatural and says that they should have a millstone tied around their neck and be drowned.
    • We have transcribed his comments here and have included a link to one of our Tik Tok posts that includes the video of Mark Winn and his speech. “The reason the people use the phrase LGTBQ is that they don’t like to use the words lesbian gay bisexual transgender and queer. All these behaviors are immoral and typically not accepted in a civilized community. It goes against God’s design for us and it goes against the natural order of nature. These behaviors should never have been promoted, taught or encouraged in the schools that you oversee. Again I say to you If any man or woman causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for a milestone to be put around your neck and thrown into the lake. It’s not my words, it’s God’s words. Please please get back to reading, writing, and arithmetic. And quit grooming and pimping.” https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTRKYyNrg/
  • Minock fails to mention all the comments made by chat members who were disgusted by the threats, called them out, and left the group immediately.
  • Apparently, Winn lost his job after his employer learned of the comments that he himself made at the school board meeting. Minock insinuates that Winn lost his job because of the threats from members in the chat.
  • The “news” story concludes by mentioning accusations made against a separate group – the “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County” several years ago. At the time, LCSO found NO charges to file against anyone in the group after a full police investigation. These same allegations continue to be referenced by Sinclair media and others, even though LCSO concluded their investigation without charges.

Loudoun4All whole-heartedly and without exception condemns comments made by anyone that could incite violence. There is absolutely no excuse for this. However, we feel that the way these comments are being covered is intentionally misleading, and being used at this time mainly for political manipulation.

The residents of Loudoun County deserve honest discussion and factual reporting. This misinformation and spin conducted by Sinclair media group and others only serves the political agenda of the right wing. It seems like fear mongering and lies are becoming the status quo every time an election season begins. We deserve honest reporting, not spin. We deserve real facts, real policies, and real change.

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