Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. is requiring news anchors at its local TV stations to take part in a new promotional campaign that slams national media outlets for sharing “fake stories,” according to a new report.
CNN reported on Wednesday that the script for the promotional campaign begins with local anchors praising the “quality, balanced journalism” produced by local stations, but then pivots to 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,” the script reads, according to CNN. “More alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first.”
“Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’ … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
The script then has anchors say they “understand Truth is neither politically ‘left or right.'”
“Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever,” the script reads.
CNN reports instructions accompanying the promo script direct anchors to read the scripts “exactly as they are written.” Local stations are also instructed to run the promos as frequently as possible “to create maximum reach and frequency,” and are told to run the promos “using news time, not commercial time.”
The instructions for the promos also direct anchors to dress in “jewel tones” and avoid the colors red, blue and purple.
“The goal is to look apolitical, neutral, nonpartisan yet professional,” the instructions read, according to CNN.
One anchor at a Sinclair station, who spoke to CNN anonymously, said “everyone” at their local station was “uncomfortable” with the promo.
“I felt like a POW recording a message,” another anchor told CNN.
Sinclair, the largest owner of local television stations in the country, is awaiting approval for its proposed merger with Tribune Media, which would give it access to about 70 percent of the nation’s television audience.
The broadcaster is known for its right-of-center slant and requires stations across the U.S. to run segments that often include conservative video op-eds. It’s also known for featuring top conservatives, and former Trump spokesman Boris Epshteyn last year.