Sinclair Broadcast Group has come under fire for providing a script for news anchors to read, that warned listeners of “irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country,” according to Deadspin. Some believe that this is pro-Trump messaging, raising questions about the motive behind the script.
Norma Holland from 13WHAM News, a subsidiary of ABC, has spoken out publicly on Facebook about her struggle and anger after reading the script. She said that she “was forced to make an awful decision,” and said that she was not willing to give up her career over refusing to read the script.
Moreover, Holland expresses how reading the script has eroded at the trust she’s worked to build with her viewers over 22 years. And even though she decided to read the script when she was asked to, now she is taking a stand and letting the public know that it was not something she wanted to do.
Holland has admitted to following orders, even encouraging boycotts of Sinclair Broadcasting, WHAM, and other affiliates in her Facebook post comments. Some question her decision to read the script in the first place, whereas others are sympathetic to her situation, saying she’s not the first person to be forced to do something she didn’t want to do at a job.
Holland is just one of approximately 200 anchors that read the script, according to NPR. A mash-up of all of the anchors reciting the same wording has become viral and sparked national debate about news legitimacy and propaganda.
John Oliver has slammed the anchors as being “members of a brainwashed cult” on CNN, while remarking that some looked very unhappy to be reciting the script.
As Holland takes her stand and speaks out about her unease and coercion into reading the script, other anchors have been less vocal, perhaps concerned about their job security.
In the meantime, it appears that Sinclair Media’s promo plan has backfired. As anchors pledged “very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced, and factual,” viewers are finding those words hard to believe.
President Trump, on the other hand, is defending Sinclair, saying that fake news networks are being hypocritical.