If its defunct right-leaning editorial series, The Point With Mark Hyman, or its refusal to broadcast Nightline’s 2004 tribute to the Iraq war dead are any indication, Sinclair Broadcast Group isn’t coy about its conservative tendencies.

Still, when we happened to Google the company last week, we were surprised by the blurb below the link to Sinclair’s site, which began: “Politically conservative chain of more than 50 television stations….”

It struck us as odd for a big news outfit to tout its bias so brazenly, and Sinclair agreed. “It shouldn’t be in there,” said a spokesperson, who was unaware of the description. “That’s never been a characterization we’ve used.”

After investigating, Sinclair called back to say the blurb was not the result of a vast left-wing conspiracy, but the handiwork of the Open Directory Project, a multilingual community of some 80,000 volunteer editors who index just about everything in the search universe. (Google confirmed that it uses ODP entries in its Web Directory.)

ODP is owned by Netscape, whose parent, AOL, simply explained that “tens of thousands of people contribute” to the directory.

Sure enough, the biased blurb was gone the next day, replaced by a new description calling Sinclair “one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country today.”

Biased? You decide.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.