MEDIA
04/02/2018 12:03 am ET Updated Apr 04, 2018

Sinclair Broadcasting Orders Local Anchors To Record Bizarre 'Hostage' Video

Supercut shows broadcasters across the nation reading the same script.

It’s being slammed on Twitter as a “hostage” video. 

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns more than 170 U.S. TV stations, has ordered local news anchors across the country to read a script decrying “some media outlets” for “false news” and “fake stories.” 

“This is extremely dangerous to a democracy,” the script reads. 

Deadspin created a supercut of anchors reading the script and ThinkProgress shared a similar clip that showed newscasters reciting the identical lines: 

I felt like a POW recording a message,” one anchor at a Sinclair-owned station told CNN last month.

“They’re certainly not happy about it,” an unnamed employee at Sinclair-owned KOMO in Seattle told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer last week. “It’s certainly a forced thing.”

Sinclair is also requiring its stations to run segments from Boris Epshteyn, a former advisor to President Donald Trump, who often speaks in support of the White House, the newspaper reported.

Sinclair has been accused of being too close to Trump in other ways as well. 

In 2016, Jared Kushner, president’s son-in-law and adviser, said the campaign had struck a deal with Sinclair to give the network more access in exchange for running interviews with Trump without commentary, Politico reported. 

Sinclair denied anything improper occurred. 

It was a standard package, but an extended package, extended story where you’d hear more directly from candidate on the issue instead of hearing all the spin and all the rhetoric,” Sinclair spokesman Scott Livingston told Politico at the time. 

Sinclair is currently in the process of purchasing Tribune media, a deal that would give it access to 42 more stations. Once complete, Sinclair will reach 72 percent of U.S. households.  

Last year, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver warned of the implications of the purchase, and spoke out against Sinclair’s tendency to push “must-run” content on its stations. 

On Twitter, critics slammed the company over the script local anchors were forced to record: 

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