A compilation video that went viral this weekend shows dozens of reporters repeating the exact same script.
This is nothing new. Videos showcasing similar scenarios have been online since the mid 2000s.
These videos above are a few years old and did not go viral. They were not featured on CNN, or John Oliver. We are SNLS are always suspicious of the media's agenda. "Local News" has been scripted by their parent company for quite some time. But all of a sudden because the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of television stations in the country, which often seems to echo the rhetoric of President Trump "fake news", now it seems that using scripts is 'propaganda', It wasn't when they talking about Ice-cream, and the latest Adam Sandler movie. But now that it can be used a as political tool the common practice is being portrayed as a political tool. Which in many ways it is, however we must be careful when listening to professional propaganda firms like CNN, pointing their fingers and telling us to look at the propaganda across the isle. An example, John Oliver cited an instance wherein the news anchors of multiple Sinclair affiliates used precisely the same words to introduce a commentary biased in favor of the Trump administration. In 2016, the Sinclair group reportedly struck a deal with then-candidate Trump to obtain exclusive access to the Republican contender. “In exchange,” reported Politico, “Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary.”
Now, instead of undiluted Trump, viewers of Sinclair stations get a daily dose of White House talking points.
In the video below released this weekend shows anchors in the Sinclair repeat the same script, in total more than 100 affiliate stations participated.
If you want to read along, the script that Seattle’s KOMO-TV used on the air, which was obtained and published by the Seattle Post Intelligencer on Thursday, is as follows:
“Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.
(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.
(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback”
From a simple business perspective, the “fake news"script was probably meant to discredit Sinclair’s competition (Liberal news) as much as it was to back Trump’s view of the mainstream media.