In March, CNN reported that news anchors across the country were infuriated by being forced to read a mandatory script that many felt was a thinly veiled piece of pro-Trump propaganda. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns about 175 television stations in 80 media markets across the United States, mandated the reading of an on-air script that, according to multiple news reports (such as this from the New York Times), “included a warning about fake news, a promise to report fairly and accurately and a request that viewers go to the station’s website and comment ‘if you believe our coverage is unfair.'”
Continues the Times, “It may not have seemed strange to individual viewers. But Timothy Burke, the video director at Deadspin, had read a report last monthfrom CNN, which quoted local station anchors who were uncomfortable with the speech. Mr. Burke tracked down the Sinclair affiliates and found when they had aired what he called a ‘forced read.’ Then he stitched together the various broadcasts to create a supercut of anchors eerily echoing the same lines:
‘The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.’
‘Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias.’
‘This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.'”
The mandate about the forced reading has since gone viral. Viewers in the Philadelphia region might not be aware of it because Sinclair doesn’t own any of our local stations, but the company does own stations in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Altoona, and Pittsburgh. Sinclair-owned stations cover a variety of affiliates, including all the major networks.
Want to take action even though we don’t have any local Sinclair stations? Help spread the word about the propaganda campaign on your own social media pages, and also reach out to consumer hotlines of the national advertisers on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, the CW, and any of the other networks from this list. Let them know you will stop purchasing their products if they continue to advertise on Sinclair-owned media.