On Monday, the nation was supposedly outraged by local news anchors all reading the same script from their employer, The Sinclair Broadcast Group.
This sort of Orwellian groupthink, the national media assured its audience, was (to borrow a phrase from Sinclair's must-run script) "extremely dangerous to our democracy."
Even the esteemed network newscasts voiced their outrage. Why, reading a script and simply repeating talking points isn't journalism! It's propaganda!
By Thursday night, this tut-tutting of Sinclair proved ironic, as all three of those newscasts led with the exact same story and, as this montage illustrates, covered that story using nearly identical talking points:
While the three anchors and their three reporters did not use an identical script, they very obviously worked from the exact same frame of reference.
Interesting, isn't it, that three different media companies, three different news outlets, all independently decided that a story about a nearly two-week-old interview was worth leading their flagship newscasts? And isn't it interesting that all three of those newscasts handled their stories in a nearly identical manner?
There isn't a common script because one isn't needed. Each news outlet, each anchor, each reporter, each behind-the-scenes writer and producer already knows how to treat a story that they all independently determined was the most important of the day: It would be used to attack Trump, just as nearly every lead story on every network newscast since the moment Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination nearly two years ago.
While the local news cliche may be "If it bleeds, it leads," the national news cliche seems to be "If it hurts Trump, we'll give it a bump." Undoubtedly, the more significant national story Thursday night was the president's discussion of why he is sending National Guard troops to America's southern border--something that has not been done since 2010--yet all three major network newscasts chose instead to focus on a story designed solely to thrust a media-hyped controversy back into the public consciousness.
Would those same networks term that sort of bias "extremely dangerous to our democracy?" Don't bet on it.