A video went viral this week showing local news anchors from Sinclair Broadcast Group stations reciting right-wing talking points that the company required all of its affiliates to air — though those searching for the video on Reddit and YouTube may have had a more difficult time finding it.
The video has garnered more than 5 million views since it was tweeted by the sports and media news website Deadspin, sparking nationwide controversy over the media conglomerate forcing local stations to broadcast the company’s right-wing political views. In the 98-second video, anchors from more than two dozen stations read a script warning about the dangers of “fake news,” echoing a favorite talking point of President Donald Trump.
Critics say the video is a dangerous example of a mega-corporation using local news media — which is often more trusted by viewers — to push a political agenda. And to deepen the controversy, there have been accusations that YouTube and the link-sharing site Reddit have both taken actions to suppress the video.
On Reddit, the video quickly shot to the top of the front page on Saturday, but was mysteriously deleted after moderators on the r/video subreddit tagged it as “locked and removed.” The video returned a short time later but was deleted again, prompting a post in the site’s r/conspiracy subreddit questioning why Reddit was deleting the video. That post quickly reached the top of Reddit’s front page, as did a separate submission in the r/television subreddit.
After several hours of the original post being removed, it was eventually reinstated and now is the most popular submission in the history of the r/videos subreddit, though it was still not showing up among the most popular submissions in the history of the site, where it would have been No. 2 overall.
There have been similar accusations of YouTube suppressing the viral video of Sinclair Media Group anchors reading the script. On Sunday, the video topped the site’s “Trending” page in several countries, including Canada, but those accessing the site in the United States did not see the video anywhere on the page.
Some have taken to the internet to complain about the difficulty in finding the video on both Reddit and YouTube.
There was no explanation from either YouTube or Reddit as to why the Sinclair Media Group video did not show up, though it eventually did reach the top of Reddit in separate submissions. And the apparent suppression has done little to slow the viral spread of the video, which continues to grow at a rate of hundreds of thousands of views each hour.