The host showed how Sinclair Broadcast Group – the largest owner of local TV stations in the country – forces stations to air “must-run” segments, which tend to promote conservative viewpoints. One of these segments included a scripted anchor statement that echoed President Trump’s derision of mainstream media as “fake.”
According to Oliver, Sinclair also feeds its stations other conservative-slanted segments, like one featuring Trump’s controversial former aide, Boris Epshteyn.
Sinclair has faced a wide backlash over its media-bashing promos, in which reporters claim that “national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first.” Deadspin recently went viral with an eerie video that compiles dozens of the segments into one massive anti-media chorus.
After airing the video compilation, Oliver touched on the core irony of forcing your anchors to parrot a particular message: “Nothing says, ‘We value independent media’ like dozens of reporters forced to repeat the same message over and over again like members of a brainwashed cult.”
On Monday morning, President Trump responded to the Sinclair criticism, tweeting, “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”