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Employees could have been required to pay back wages had they resigned in protest over 'fake news' script

Many people working in American cable news pondered the same question this week: Why did hundreds of anchors for Sinclair Broadcast Group all recently agree to read the same editorial on air?

And more specifically, if they were opposed to it — as many were reported to have privately conceded — why didn't they just refuse or quit?

The answer seems to demonstrate how the politicized nature of news in the U.S. has filtered down to local markets, where many journalists have fewer options for career movement. It has also shed light on a rare employment clause in many Sinclair Broadcast Group contracts.

The script, and the dictate to read it verbatim, came from Sinclair's head office last month. The company, which leans conservative, owns nearly 200 local U.S. television stations and reaches about 40 per cent of U.S. households.

Described internally as the company's corporate news journalistic responsibility promotion campaign, it featured on-air news teams reading lines like this, directly into the camera:

"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.

"More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories … stories that just aren't true, without checking facts first.

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."

Shortly after the Stepford-like editorials started airing across the country, Trump tweeted out his support.

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