“This is extremely dangerous to our democracy” – literally dozens of local US news media affiliates’ hosts are heard repeating the same phrase at the end of a compilation video shared on Twitter.
But the reporters from news stations that belong to the Sinclair Broadcast Group weren’t talking about themselves, that is, the negative effect that this kind of script-reading that appears to have been handed to all of them from the same source has on journalism, and therefore democracy.
Instead, as if to make the situation even more surreal, this “choir” was denouncing – bad journalism and fake news, particularly those supposedly spread on corporate media’s biggest competitor – social media, and by extension, independent outlets who use them.
“Our greatest responsibility is to serve our communities” (insert specific community the TV affiliate is broadcasting to), these hosts are saying at the beginning of what will turn out to be no more than reading of a text prepared for them, that’s meant to pass off for “real” news and opinion, not to mention concern for the state of the profession.
Next, one of these even refer to “quality and balanced journalism” they produce and are proud of – only for the video to cut to at once amusing and disturbing combination of nine others continuing this very same “thought” to all say, verbatim, that they are now concerned about “irresponsible and one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”
If you’ve ever watched Star Trek’s Borg announce their “point of view” to an adversary through a monologue that contains the “resistance is futile” statement, you’ll know what the audio of these combined voices saying exactly the same thing sounds like.
The Borg are famously a fully controlled collective with no individuals and no mind of their own, existing instead in what has been dubbed as a “hive mind”; and it looks like these talking heads are working hard to fit into the same stereotype.
Finally, from one anchor we learn what the “plague” that stirred somebody up and got them to distribute the script to all these stations is about: the sharing of “false and fake news” on social media that are then carried by others without undergoing the process of fact-checking.
35 other hosts on 35 different outlets then repeat the exact same message.
And then they get to declaring, “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”