On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers.
It 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.”
It may not have seemed strange until viewers began to notice that the newscasters from Seattle to Phoenix to Washington sounded very similar. Stitched-together videos on social media
showed them 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 script came from Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest broadcaster, which owns or operates 193 television stations.
Last week, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a copy of the speech and reported that employees at a local news station there, KOMO, were unhappy about the script.
CNN reported on it on March 7 and said Scott Livingston, the senior vice president of news for Sinclair, had read almost the exact same speech for a segment that was distributed to outlets a year ago.
A union that represents news anchors did not respond immediately to requests for comment on Sunday.
Dave Twedell of the International Cinematographers Guild, who is a business representative for photojournalists (but not anchors) at KOMO in Seattle and KATU in Portland, Ore., said Sinclair told journalists at those stations not to discuss the company with outside news media.
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