Video Of Sinclair's On-Air Anti-'Fake News' Promos Goes Viral

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” the HBO host took on Sinclair Broadcast Group

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” the HBO host took on Sinclair Broadcast Group

John Oliver slammed Sinclair Broadcast Group on Sunday for requiring local anchors to read media-bashing promos.

While the policy, which many staffers have referred to as embarrassing and pushing a pro-Trump agenda of its own, started nearly a month ago, it went viral this past weekend and President Trump tweeted support for the stations this morning.

Anchors were given instructions accompanying the promotional material, including a directive to read the scripts "exactly as they are written" and to run the promotion during news time as frequently as possible to "create maximum reach and frequency".

During the 2016 presidential campaign, its stations in key swing states landed numerous exclusive interviews with Trump and his surrogates, and the company produced a number of news reports that were favorable to Trump or were critical of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Among others, John Oliver skewered Sinclair's campaign during his HBO program, "Last Week Tonight", on Sunday. The company recently forced its news anchors to read a scripted promo about "the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country".

If Sinclair had offered the affiliates a pre-packaged clip of someone from headquarters delivering the speech, their problem here would have been partially solved.

The video montage, released by Deadspin, shows many of Sinclair's anchors from across its many stations reading the exact same copy.

Based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, the company has showcased conservative commentators on dozens of its stations. Sinclair is a right-leaning company, the biggest owner of TV news affiliates in the country and one that's looking to get bigger: It's awaiting regulatory approval to acquire Tribune Media, which would give it some juice in major media markets on the coasts and boost its ability to compete with Fox News.

A person in Sinclair management confirmed that tensions are on the rise.

"I felt like a POW recording a message", one anchor, who wished to stay anonymous and worked at a Sinclair-owned station, told CNN last month. The "Terrorism Alert Desk" is a recurring segment.

Sinclair employs Boris Ephshteyn, a former Trump aide, as its chief political analyst.

Like any well-oiled propaganda machine, Sinclair doesn't just want to convince us that their news is the best news, but that their news is the ONLY news.

Sinclair's conservative views are a subject of discussion and is a factor as the company is looking to expand by purchasing Tribune Media which is now under review by federal regulators. The deal would add dozens more stations to its portfolio. "I've never been told a single time what to say".

After CNN's initial story in early March, others expressed concern and frustration. "Some of his commentary has come as close to classic propaganda as anything I have seen in broadcast television in the last 30 years".

An all-newsroom email from one station news director read: "Let me be absolutely clear here..." Not only does what they're being told to do grossly compromise journalistic integrity, but making it mandatory for on-air personalities to recite the agenda of a leader is basically tantamount to state-run TV that we associate with places like North Korea and Russian Federation.

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