Mandated scripts air on Sinclair stations


A video released this weekend by news sports site and blog Deadspin is circulating news media outlets nationwide. The video exposes the nation’s largest local television station owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group, in its controversial underhanded support of President Trump and his “fake news” dialogue.

Opening of Deadpan expository video (Photo courtesy of Deadspin sports news and blog)

In just under two minutes, the video pieces together identical quotes from news stations across the country, all warning viewers to be mindful of “fake news.”

The video itself is unsettling to say the least; news anchors are shown delivering formulaic lines in unison, first stating the particular station’s dedication to serving their respective area, followed by a shared sentiment of pride in the profession of journalism.

The video goes on to show clips of similar formulaic statements, all expressing that they are “concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country,” according to The Concourse. As clips of anchors multiply and their voices echo perfectly scripted lines concerning “truth” and “factual reporting,” the video ends in a rhythmic chant of the anchors stating, “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”

Brian Stelter reported for CNN earlier in March on the company mandate, sharing in the article the script with which a local news station owned by Sinclair was provided. One anonymous anchor stated, “At my station, everyone was uncomfortable doing it.” Similarly, American news website Thinkprocess shared a transcription of the script based on news station KOMO out of Seattle, wherein the basic formula is broken down.

The news media are near bursting with anchors stating their discomfort in berating their own chosen profession, as well as being required to boast biased dialogue. Many outlets turn focus instead to Sinclair’s move to acquire another 40 television stations, thereby increasing its political influence.

The Deadspin video alone has exceptional reach, having been shared tirelessly over social media outlets, primarily Twitter and Facebook, and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver.

Unsurprisingly, the exposure has sparked massive disgust and contempt for slimy media politics in general and the now-questionable ethics of Sinclair Broadcast Group. And, unsurprisingly, President Trump has taken to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter;

“So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke,” the president wrote.

If nothing else, the video has managed to shock and alert the general public to the immeasurable power of mass media.