Photo: William Thomas Cain (Getty Images)

Over the weekend, a number of videos went viral featuring local news anchors from across the country reading off identical statements about the terrors of fake news, an unsettling glimpse into a Republican paradise where you can’t trust anyone except who the conservatives in the federal government tell you to trust. As it turns out, all of the stations that aired the statements were owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, an infamous TV company that is slowly trying to take over the majority of all local news stations so it can spread right-wing propaganda like this without anyone catching on—a scheme that’s going to be a little easier thanks to famous asshole Ajit Pai and the FCC.

Today, Sinclair has released an absurd statement (via Deadline) that tries to suggest it has no idea what the backlash is all about and that it wasn’t trying to push a “political agenda” even though it was promoting some of President Shithole’s favorite talking points. Here’s the statement in full, and just try not to read it while picturing a mustache-twirling villain putting on a phony “What? But I’m the good guy!” shtick:

We aren’t sure of the motivation for the criticism, but find it curious that we would be attacked for asking our news people to remind their audiences that unsubstantiated stories exist on social media, which result in an ill-informed public with potentially dangerous consequences. It is ironic that we would be attacked for messages promoting our journalistic initiative for fair and objective reporting, and for specifically asking the public to hold our newsrooms accountable. Our local stations keep our audiences’ trust by staying focused on fact-based reporting and clearly identifying commentary.

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Nothing says “don’t worry, you can trust us” like dozens of “independent” reporters repeating the exact same words.