"We are concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country."

Here are the manipulative ads Sinclair forced local anchors to read, now airing across the country:

Apart from disparaging statements about non-Sinclair news outlets, the ads mostly contain trite and inoffensive statements supporting responsible, "balanced" journalism -- and that's part of the problem. As Stelter noted, "On its face, some of the language is not controversial. But that's precisely why some staffers were so troubled by it. The promo script, they say, belies Sinclair management's actual agenda to tilt reporting to the right." One staffer told CNN they "felt like a POW recording a message."

A Media Matters search of the iQ media database found that between March 23 and March 27, at least 62 Sinclair stations reaching 29 states and D.C. have now run their own versions of the scripted segment. In the clips, local news anchors say things like, "I'm concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country."

I stacked the three videos from that article side by side, but unfortunately the anchor-drones do not have Industry Standard Cadence, so it gets out of sync right away:

This short one from @bubbaprog is fun:

Really we need an Emergency Broadcast Network or Eclectic Method remix of these.

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13 Responses:

  1. ducksauz says:

    Just when you thought that murder and weather is our only news. Would be nice if those local newscasters could refuse (and keep their jobs, that is.)

  2. Tim says:

    This person's edit is quite well done:

    Maybe worth noting that joining together local stations was pioneered by Silvio Berlusconi.

  3. Phil says:

    We definitely need EBN to come out of retirement.

  4. anon7 says:

    Sinclair already has a Russian former-Trump campaign apparatchik (named Boris) as their chief political/analyst commentator, out shilling biased commentary on Sinclair stations. This thing is just another step in the same direction. And subtlety is apparently not Sinclair's strong suit.

    I guess Sinclair and Fox now do battle over who gets to be Pravda and who gets to be Izvestia.

  5. Nia Psaka says:

    They're trying to make a good point. There is a lot of totally fake news on social media. They may even be sincerely trying to warn their viewers.

    But I fear that by scripting their various local channels so blatantly, they created an exploitable situation. They may now be undermining their own credibility and elevating the credibility of those they denounce; more trouble than if they just had the head of the corporation record a spot himself. Now that it's exposed and mocked in this way, believers in the fake news on social media are going to be even more smug about it.

    Who benefits now? Probably Alex Jones and the websites that tell you they're parody only in small text at the bottom of the page.

  6. robert_ says:

    So where does one go for unbiased news in the USA these days? NPR?

    • Nick Lamb says:

      Looking for "unbiased news" is probably an error, instead I suggest understanding that all sources are biased, learning to interpret this bias and think independently about what you are told rather than taking it all on face value and hoping to avoid that "face value" being used against you.

      This won't help most people, who are lazy, I don't have any brilliant ideas for what you ought to do about that.

      • thielges says:

        Yup. The best tool is a solid understanding of critical thinking. Though that’s just preaching to the choir on a blog like this.

        Increased respect for critical thinking is probably the best defense for our democracy to prevent erosion by automated manipulation of human emotion. Not sure how to make critical thinking cool enough to be picked up by the masses though. So much more fun to take online personality quizzes and share the results with “friends”.

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