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Newschannel 20 featured in viral video of anchors across the country reciting the same “fake news” promo

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On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers. Central Illinois and Springfield were no exception, as our local Sinclair owned Newschannel 20 is featured in the new video released by Deadspin. (watch the video below)

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 to individual viewers. But Timothy Burke, the video director at Deadspin, had read a report last month from CNN, which quoted local station anchors who were uncomfortable with the speech.

Mr. Burke tracked down the Sinclair affiliates and found when they had aired what he called a “forced read.”

He then decided to stitch together the various local broadcasts to create a supercut of robot anchors eerily echoing the same lines, with things like:

“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. The company is seeking a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media, a move that’s being held up by regulators over antitrust concerns.

Some Reactions from Political Advertisers

A Democratic candidate in Kentucky said Monday that she will pull her campaign ads from a local Sinclair station and called on other Democrats to do the same.

Amy McGrath, a retired Marine running in a tough primary to challenge Republican US Rep. Andy Barr, said she had instructed her campaign team “to cease and pull all campaign advertising on WDKY-TV (Channel 56), the Sinclair-owned television station in our congressional district, as soon as possible.”

For Sinclair, it was the latest show of the vast reach of a company that owns local TV stations across the country and has long been criticized for pushing conservative coverage and commentary onto local airwaves.

 

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