John Oliver Demolishes Sinclair Over ‘Must-Run’: Anchors Sound Like ‘Members of a Brainwashed Cult’


Back in July of last year (or approximately 18,529 Potentially Scandalous Events ago, in Trump Administration speak), John Oliver did a segment on Last Week Tonight condemning Sinclair Broadcasting, a media conglomerate which owns an vast portion of local news media.

As Oliver explained back then, Sinclair periodically features “must-runs,” which are segments that every Sinclair subsidiary must air and which skew strongly right-of-center. Deadspin made a supercut of the latest must-run, which shows news anchors across the country reciting a script about “irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”

“Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think,” the anchors say. “This is incredibly dangerous to our democracy.”

After showing dozens of anchors all across the country repeating these words in unison, Oliver said: “Yeah, 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.”

Here’s the full text of the script, as transcribed by ThinkProgress off of KOMO, a radio station based in Seattle:

Hi, I’m (A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.

(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.

(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.

And watch the Oliver segment above, via HBO.

[image via screengrab]

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