On April 3, nearly every one of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s stations had an anchor read a mandatory, scripted message about the state of the news media today.
“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,” the script read.
The idea of media bias is not a new one, but hearing it as an institutionalized confession over every one of Sinclair’s 200 or local stations -- except one crew in Madison -- feels a bit like the call is coming from inside the house. Especially when Sinclair is considered something of a Fox News Lite.
But don’t worry, newspeople. Whether you’re local or national, TV or print (cough DYING cough), the internet rallied the following day to give you a gift: a big ol’ hug.
That’s right – yesterday was National Hug a Newsperson Day!
We know what you’re thinking: The timing seems a little too convenient. The whole thing looks like a PR stunt to remind people how much they love their newspeople, and do not think they are at all biased or troubled by the influence of increasingly powerful owners.
But National Hug a Newsperson Day has been around for a few years. Some sources say it began back in 2009 with Fox and Friends anchor Clayton Morris setting up a hugging booth – though supposedly back then, it was called “National Hug a NewsMAN Day.”
Sure enough, lots of nice folks weighed in on Twitter to share their love for the Fourth Estate:
“The media is so hated that Twitter is now forcing a hashtag to trend that encourages people to hug a slimeball like Jim @Acosta. I would rather swim up the Nile River with 40lb dumbbells attached to my testicles and Oprahs fart as my only air supply.”
“I'd sooner hug an ebola patient. With few exceptions, America's news people exist to replace actual news with nonsense that misleads, just as Mao's and Stalin's did. A lot of them don't even realize the news they are delivering is fake.”
“Just don't let'em see the blade you're gonna plunge in their backs like they've done to #America...”
“Not today, Satan.”