Donald Trump has rushed to the defence of a broadcasting company criticised for ordering dozens of its news anchors to recite the same pre-scripted lines echoing his attacks on “fake news”
In a set of promos Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns more than 170 US TV stations, reportedly ordered its presenters’ to claim that the media was behaving in a way that was “extremely dangerous to democracy”.
The adverts, which began airing last week, are part of a campaign by Sinclair to warn of the dangers of “one-sided news stories plaguing our country” and have been met with widespread criticism.
Mr Trump has now taken to Twitter to defend Sinclair claiming it is “far superior” to other the likes of CNN and NBC.
“So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke [sic].”
Some insiders claimed that news anchors were forced into reading the scripts but viewers reacted angrily on social media with many accusing of them as having no back bone.
“Let them corrupt local TV news with mindless conservative conspiracies…the good news is they are only reaching the 65 and over crowd, most of which are hopeless anyways,” Scott Hates tweeted.
Late night chat show host Jimmy Kimmel shared the video on Twitter and flipped the comment claiming that promo was “extremely dangerous to our democracy”.
Although the script read out by the anchors does not name any media outlets it does echo Donald Trump’s rhetoric on any news outlet which criticises him.
“The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media,” the script reads.
“More alarming, some media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first.”
One of the anchors, who has wished to remain anonymous, said it was a hostage situation and they had no choice but to read the message.
“I felt like a prisoner of war recording a message,” the anchor told CNN.
Another unnamed employee from Seattle confirmed the anchors had been forced into reading the script.
“They’re certainly not happy about it. It’s certainly a forced thing,” the employee told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.