President Donald Trump on Monday defended Sinclair Broadcasting Group amid reports that the conservative telecommunications company ordered local news anchors to recite a script condemning other media outlets.
“Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke,” Trump tweeted.
Sinclair, which owns or operates more than 170 TV stations across the U.S., has come under fire in recent weeks for directing dozens of anchors to read from the same strongly worded script during on-air broadcasts.
“The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media,” the script read. “Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias. ... This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
Deadspin created a supercut of anchors reading the script. ThinkProgress shared a similar clip that showed newscasters reciting the identical lines:
Scott Livingston, the company’s senior vice president of news, told The Baltimore Sun that the script was a way for Sinclair to reiterate its “commitment to reporting facts.”
“We are focused on fact-based reporting,” Livingston told the Sun. “That’s our commitment to our communities. That’s the goal of these announcements: to reiterate our commitment to reporting facts in a pursuit of truth.”
Sinclair, the country’s largest broadcaster, has been accused of pushing for pro-Trump content to run on its stations. It’s not uncommon for the company to send its stations “must-run” video segments that feature positive commentary about Trump, The New York Times reports.
The broadcasting group is currently in the process of purchasing Tribune Media, which would allow Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households.