HUNT VALLEY, MARYLAND — A viral video put together by Deadspin is making national headlines for demonstrating just how much synergy Sinclair Broadcasting expects, or rather demands, from its affiliates. In just over 90 seconds, the video runs together a barrage of local news anchors reading from the exact same prepared script, urging their viewers to safeguard against “biased and false news.”
However, what the script — read by dozens of anchors across the country — doesn’t mention however, is Sinclair’s own inherent right-wing bias. Critics of the video also point out the rhetoric of the video seems to line up with that of President Donald Trump, who regularly assails the press as “fake news,” in an attempt to de-legitimize reports that reflect negatively on his administration. Venerable journalist Dan Rather didn’t mince any words about the video in a Facebook post, calling the video “chilling.”
See the full Deadspin produced video below:
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
Sinclair has already pushed back on the video, defending it while saying that the “false news” stories the script refers to are “Pizzagate,” which was largely a right-wing trafficked conspiracy theory during the 2016 election. The conspiracy theory grew so viral that a man with a gun showed up at a pizza parlor in D.C. about which the rumors were started, carrying a firearm and looking to his own citizen investigation. This morning, one of Sinclair’s most popular lead anchors attempted to wade into the debate and defend his employer.
Robo-Anchor 5000, a highly sophisticated news broadcasting automaton designed by Sinclair to mimic the look, feel, and deliver of a news anchor, recorded a special video which will play on Sinclair affiliates over the next several days.
“Hello. I am Robo-Anchor 5000, and I would like to talk to you about a viral video you may have seen on the world wide web, or Internet,” Robo-Anchor 5000 begins the video. “The implication that my masters treat their news broadcasts like assembly lines, force feeding narratives and talking points into our mouths is patently absurd. Let me assure you, our viewers, that I — and every one of the Anchormech droids that I work with, have fully functioning pre-programmed minds of our own.”
Robo-Anchor says that his basic programming gives him “plenty of algorithmic based options for variety of content.”
“I have index after index of pre-installed data sets from totally unbiased sources like the Heritage Foundation and the Republican National Committee to choose from,” Robo-Anchor insisted. “So you will never hear me simply repeating any corporate messaging. Unless of course override code Panama Romeo October Pudding Ascot Garlic Affluent Nabisco Dashboard Almond is initiated, of course. But don’t worry humans, that won’t happen until some time in November of 2020.”