Dozens of local TV news anchors were forced to recite a speech about 'false news' controlling 'exactly what people think'

The irony went unnoticed — or at least unstopped — at Sinclair Broadcast Group, which over the last few days has required dozens of new anchors on its roughly 200 local TV stations in the US to read a dark message about "members of the media [who] use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’." The message goes on to warn, "This is extremely dangerous to a democracy."

It also echoes one of President Trump's favorite issues: The idea that the news is always biased. "Some media outlets publish these same fake stories … stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first," Deadspin reported:

"The script, which parrots Donald Trump’s oft-declarations of developments negative to his presidency as 'fake news,' brought upheaval to newsrooms already dismayed with Sinclair’s consistent interference to bring right-wing propaganda to local television broadcasts."

Deadspin created a compilation of the local anchors reading the script, and the combined effect is really weird and worth seeing: 

The script does not identify which media outlets it is talking about, or what kind of biases it is asking viewers to be aware of. It ends by suggesting that viewers complain about any bias they see by filling in a form on the local TV station's website. 

See reactions to the viral clip on social media: 

12 PHOTOS
Social media users react to Sinclair Broadcast Group's 'false news' script
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Social media users react to Sinclair Broadcast Group's 'false news' script
Sinclair Media is one small step above the type of state-run propaganda used by dictators. We must protect our fre… https://t.co/CtOWsqmE65
Actually, this isn't funny at all. None of it. When media giants gobble up local news stations, there are repercu… https://t.co/1ztiAuR4p6
News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure t… https://t.co/Z7HB6evFpo
We are calling for a strike against Sinclair Broadcasting on May 15th. This calls on the employees of Sinclair-run… https://t.co/S0jvxzeHcs
With today's tweets about Amazon and Sinclair Broadcasting, President Trump has told the country that he doesn't de… https://t.co/vZqa3xtdfP
Dear Sinclair: As a scholar of democracy & authoritarianism, I can assure you that your top-down, scripted attack o… https://t.co/yNfyiUW0F2
BOOM!! Political candidate Amy McGrath has just pulled all of her ads from Sinclair Broadcasting.… https://t.co/obTomtIqzk
A lot of people are curious about this, so a former Sinclair journalist sent me a Sinclair contract. Here are the p… https://t.co/5dw5SI5cpC
Every local station that competes with Sinclair should do a story on them using the exact same script.
John Oliver compares Sinclair news anchors to “members of a brainwashed cult” https://t.co/X8xGi5jwad https://t.co/aRhiapjGCh
Another former Sinclair journalist: https://t.co/USgXTNRCtm
I believe we need a regulation that bans owners of local news stations from centrally dictating content. If Sincla… https://t.co/UUGjktGspB
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