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Following reports from CNN’s Brian Stelter in early March that Sinclair Broadcasting Group would be requiring local news anchors on their more than 170 television stations nationwide to record a promo addressing the “troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country,” Deadspin published a transcription of the script and a video montage of anchors across the U.S. reading the script.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
Critics of the video were quick to voice their concern on social media, calling it “chilling” and an attempt to push an “extremely biased agenda.”
Sinclair, which owns or operates nearly 200 television stations across the U.S., has recently been in talks with Tribune Media for a merger valued at just under $4 billion.
“Watch this video. Read this article. Sinclair Broadcast Group is buying up local stations all over the country & using them to push their extremely biased agenda,” wrote comic actor Kumail Nanjiani on Twitter, linking to the video.
The Late Show host Stephen Colbert also shared a link to the video with the caption, “Jinx! You owe me a coke.”
House of Cards creator Beau Willimon called for a boycott of the broadcast group, tweeting, “Find out if any of your local stations are owned @WeAreSinclair (Sinclair Broadcast Group). If so, make sure to boycott watching them so advertisers drop. This is what corporate authoritarian propaganda looks like. #BoycottSinclair.”
Director Joss Whedon wrote, “This is a terrifying look at how precisely Sinclair media is controlling their message. This IS extremely dangerous to our democracy. Painful and necessary viewing. (It does help if you imagine every one of them breaking into “God I hope I get it” at the end).”
And The Wire creator David Simon tweeted, “If you’re watching a Sinclair station, you’re as dumb a rube as they are counting on you to be. And if you work at one, as big a whore.”
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver had taken an in-depth look at Sinclair last July and on Sunday, he returned to the topic, replayed the Deadspin video and described Sinclair and those who work there as a “brainwashed cult.”
On Monday morning, Trump took to Twitter to defend Sinclair as “far superior” than CNN and NBC. “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,” he wrote.
April 2, 7 a.m. Updated with Trump tweet, Last Week Tonight segment.
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