Sinclair Media Group, one of the largest local TV station owners, is reportedly requiring its anchors to read promotional messages on air that many are calling “pro-Trump propaganda.”
The script, which is required to be read during news time rather than using up commercial spots, includes anchors saying they’re “extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [proper news brand name of local station] produces.” The anchors are then supposed to follow by saying, “But I’m [we are] concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”
The message continues: “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’ … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy,” CNN reports.
The anchors are then told to close the statement by saying that their station pursues the truth and “We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left or right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.”
A staffer who wished to remain anonymous told CNN that everyone at the station was uncomfortable reading the script. While the message isn’t explicitly political in nature, many feel the message of “fake news” echos President Donald Trump’s often-inaccurate accusation about “fake news.”
Sinclair employees also claim they have been forced to air stories during newscasts that have nothing to do with their local audience and instead advance hot-button topics for conservatives.
Sinclair, which is known for its right-leaning news, owns or operates 173 local television stations across the country.