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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

According to Sinclair Broadcasting Group, it’s doing a service to its viewers by requiring the many local TV news stations it owns to air unabashedly pro-Trump propaganda on a regular basis.

The local TV news giant has been pushing a right-wing slant on local television stations across the country for years. Owned by the Smiths, a family of longtime Republican donors who have all the ambition of News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch but a much lower profile, Sinclair has mostly flown under the radar. But following the election of President Donald Trump, the network has begun adopting the playbook Roger Ailes used to turn Fox News into a conservative media goliath.

Over the last few months, Sinclair has been requiring its stations to run more commentaries from pro-Trump personalities and expanding its reach to greater numbers of unassuming viewers in new local media markets. Now it’s defending these clear moves to mimic the aspiring state media over at Fox with warped, brainwash-y logic: The conservative propaganda it pushes on its viewers is necessary because the rest of the media is biased.

Politico’s Hadas Gold obtained a new internal memo from Sinclair executive Scott Livingston declaring that much of the recent reporting about Sinclair’s moves to expand right-wing local news is “false.”

In the memo, Livingston said the network’s right-wing commentary segments “provide a viewpoint that often gets lost in the typical national broadcast media dialogue.” His memo closed with an attempt to cast recent criticism of Sinclair as illegitimate and perpetrated by “biased” reporters seeking to “destroy our reputation.” On and off-screen, it’s Sinclair vs. the world:

“What we find most troubling in the reporting about our company, by major media outlets (like the New York Times and Washington Post), is the omission of key facts in their stories,” Livingston wrote. “Such omissions suggest the existence of either journalistic incompetency or editorial bias. We do not believe these journalists are incompetent, so we are left to conclude that they are biased.

“We are proud to offer a range of perspectives, both conservative and liberal — to our consumers — -on our Sinclair broadcast stations each day. It is unfortunate that so many of our competitors do not provide the same marketplace of ideas,” he continued. “Our commitment is to tracking the truth, providing context and perspective in our reporting and serving our communities with valuable and, at times, life-saving information. We value our viewers and our journalists who work hard each day to serve the communities in which they live — -all across this great country. It’s concerning and troubling that so many once trusted news organizations continue to push false narratives with an agenda to destroy our reputation and discredit the great journalism across our company.”

Like Ailes before him, Livingston hopes that he can garner ratings by presenting his network as “fair and balanced” in opposition to the mainstream press. But here are the undeniable, troubling facts about the direction Sinclair is taking:

  • Months after hiring former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn as its chief political analyst, Sinclair announced it would be increasing the number of times per week that Epshteyn’s right-wing commentary segment, “Bottom Line with Boris,” must air on its local stations. Media critic David Zurawik has described these segments as “as close to classic propaganda as I think I have seen” over his 30-year career.
  • “Bottom Line with Boris” is one of three regular Sinclair segments considered to be “must run” content, meaning that all Sinclair stations are required to air them. The other two segments are “Behind the Headlines” with conservative commentator Mark Hyman and a fearmongering “terrorism alert desk.” The practice has raised concerns from experts and employees at local Sinclair stations.
  • Sinclair is currently seeking to acquire Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, a move that would make Sinclair the largest provider of local television news in the country. The potential acquisition, by the way, is possible only because of a Trump administration move to roll back Obama-era consumer regulations.

It’s clear that Sinclair is attempting to push an increasingly skewed view of the news to an ever-expanding audience in regions across the country. And this isn’t Livingston’s first time lashing out at non-Sinclair outlets. Back in March, Livingston set this tone by narrating a strange “must run” segment warning viewers about “biased and false news” from “members of the national media.”

The “must run” segments are not just run-of-the-mill conservative “commentary”

While Livingston is trying to pass off the must-run segments as merely conservative commentary, there’s no doubt that the Epshteyn and Hyman segments are straight-up propaganda. In recent weeks, neithercommentator seems to have aired a segment touching on possible collusion between members of the Trump camp and Russia, despite frequent bombshells on the top story. (In June, Hyman’s take on Russian meddling in the election was: “We do it. Russians do it. Everyone does it. Meddling in another nation’s democratic elections is actually routine behavior.”) They’ve also had little to say about the dangerously inept Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, a major news story and a Trump administration priority gone wrong. (Epshteyn’s most recent segment, as of publication, is a confused critique of net neutrality. Hyman’s is about why raising the minimum wage in Seattle is bad.)

At its very worst, the Sinclair “must run” strategy also attempts to drive a wedge between local audiences and the facts. Both Epshteyn and Hyman have found time to produce several segments each since Trump’s inauguration attacking mainstream media outlets in a direct echo of both their employer’s rhetoric and Trump administration talking points. Epshteyn even cheered Trump’s threat to scale back White House press briefings last month, calling the briefings “a circus and a distraction.”

And at its very, very worst, Sinclair is sneaking the very lowest in fringe, far-right commentary into the living rooms of unsuspecting Americans who did not sign up for it. The most devastating example is this must-run segment from April, in which Mark Hyman alludes to the heinous far-right conspiracy theory about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

The Hyman and Epshteyn segments are doing the dirty work of pushing Sinclair’s openly pro-Trump agenda and anti-media propaganda efforts to unknowing local television viewers on the regular.


Header image by Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

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23 responses to “Sinclair Is Trying To Bring The Fox News Model To Your Local News Station”

  1. FireBaron says:

    That’s all we need – another “Legitimate” Conservative news outlet that makes Faux look like a bastion of journalistic integrity and liberal bias.

    • Soniaparnold says:

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pa259d:
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    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Journalistic integrity comes from seasoned journalists like the late Walter Cronkite and the late Douglas Edwards. Dan Rather, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell are all that remain of straight shooters.

  2. old_blu says:

    I read a headline this morning.

    “Trump’s first six months in office 991 tweets, 40 golf trips, and 0 pieces of major legislation.”

  3. gregz@signsmart.com says:

    About time conservatives started fighting back agains the lefts near monopoly on new outlets.

    • COS taxpayer says:

      your choice- real news or “nothing-burgers”

    • Dapper Dan says:

      Grrrr those nasty ol liberals there time is coming

      • Eleanore Whitaker says:

        Ever notice how the most rabid conservatives are always white males all the same age group? Most had parents who made huge sacrifices so these lumps of dirt could get an education and live a fairly middle class life.

        But oh no! That wasn’t “good” enough for these jostling grifters. If life isn’t handed to them on a silver platter, their brains go into apoplexy.

        Their assumption they are the ONLY ones who have intelligence is their weak point. Intelligence is more than book instruction. It’s age experience that produces uncanny wisdom none of these twerps will have.

        Most of them have the lousy work ethics: Fast Cash, under the rader compliance to US business laws and now they have their Emperor Trump condoning all manner of sleaze.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      About time you nuts on the right stopped trying to ram what we know and can prove are your lies. If you have to resort to propaganda, why would you expect us to trust you?

      As for your “SignSmart.com, you should know that recent Fortune and Entrepreneur Magazine articles all allude to Glut Advertisers like you will be out of business. You did this to yourself.

      Who the hell is going to pay you to slob up our social media, TV and billboards with your insane, pernicous ads. If you can’t earn a living any other way than by trying to ram your ads in our face, I’d suggest you go back and get an education in robotics. ;

      • gregz@signsmart.com says:

        I have nothing to do with advertising or billboards. Obviously you know as much about me as you know what you are talking about. You and your globalist hacks should leave this great country.

        • Eleanore Whitaker says:

          Yeah, right you lying sack of cow manure. Why use “gregz@signsmart.com if you are not in any way associated with the advertising group Sign Smart.com? You do know I can report you for stealing a web address right? I googled that web address and your site is “under development.” You better hope that you haven’t used a bogus web address. I understand that fine for stealing one is pretty huge.

          I know more about your middle aged white morons than you think. A. You don’t know anything about the US. B. You are a paid Russian troll paid to hack social media sites. Otherwise, you’d be posting on a conservative site.

          I can find out as much as I want about you. I have two family members who work for the FBI and ATF. Try me buster.
          Get the hell out of MY country.

          When you pay your LIFE dues you little trough feeder, then you get to tell me what to do. You’ve got at least another 3 decades to catch up to me. Grow up you little Trump turd.

          • gregz@signsmart.com says:

            I doubt you have every had a paying job other than carrying protest signs for the left. (Obvious by your 16000 posts on this site). I doubt you have any “real” relatives that work either.

            I own a business that has trademarked the name signsmart and it does not do any advertising or make any billboards as I said in my original post.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            So now a Ruskie Traitor like you thinks you know me? First of all, asshat, I owned a business when I was 21 years old. You were still a pea brained Mommy’s little darling in your Pampers.

            Then, in 1980, I worked for 2 years to the Ombudswoman to the SBA where I encountered more NJ Senators and Congresspersons in her office than you will ever see in your lifetime. Next? I worked for ADP for the VP of Operations and Marketing and Sales. Of course, you know who my boss was right shitbagger? the Future and now Late Senator Frank Lautenberg.

            After that I worked for the Regional VP of Akzo Chemie for 2 years. You were a preteen punk with a bad attitude who regularly got your ass beat for trying to bully others, right fukaroo?

            After Akzo, I worked for another chemical company that had clients all over the world and I was the assistant VP of Marketing and Sales. Do try to catch up pig face.

            Then, for the last 24 years and 10 months before the company closed, I worked as accounting manager and tech writer for environmental engineers with degrees a POS like you wishes you had the brains to achieve.

            You own a business that flies just under legal radar according to my “sources,” one of which is an employee of the FBI and as for you, you are nothing more than small potatoes trying to make your balls look the size of an elephant’s.

            See? when you are a well known published author of 2 novels like me and have a blog readership of 2200, you bet your ass I can get any information about you I want. Be afraid POS …be very very afraid.

          • gregz@signsmart.com says:

            Not bad for a potty mouth degenerate with a high school diploma.

  4. plc97477 says:

    Oh good another reason to turn off my TV.

  5. Richard Prescott says:

    I have seen two previous reports about Sinclair Media. One was that they were attempting to buy off a lot of Fox News. The other was an exposé by John Oliver who showed in details with video proofs and copies of memos etc. just what Sinclair Media was all about.
    In short, if you thought Fox News was bad, and even CNN on the other side of the pole, then Sinclair Media is 10 times worse. And from what I saw it is the equivalent of Brietbart News and the Drudge Report but on TV.
    And for people like gregz below, this is not simply good conservative news reporting, it is trailer trash news of the worst kind. But then, I am guessing, people wth your mindset have already lost touch with reality.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Some of us will never fall prey to BS right wing propaganda. If their idea is to try out a prenatal form of Manchurian Candidate mind control, they’ll end up wishing they’d never been born.

  6. Dapper Dan says:

    In our household we don’t watch the Sinclair owned station mentioned in the article KOMO TV. Seattle doesn’t care much for Mark Hymans BS and their Terror Alert Desk every station is required to have. To Komo’s credit they bury it at 4:55am before most people have turned on the news yet. It’s sad there’s so many sheeple that don’t even know they’re watching right wing propaganda. The other station in our market is Tribune owned KCPQ 13 which has been sold to Sinclair. Currently they can’t own more than one station per market but with this administration I’m sure they’ll get a pass and own 2 stations

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      The idea of the Christian right is that somehow, some way they will force us to pay for TV channels we do not want. That will only result in a huge loss for Cable TV stations.

      Trump will be gone sooner than later. But that still leaves those Corn Pones and Mutton Chops in the GOP to do their bully act.

      Although, of late, they are quite embarassed by Trump’s motor mouth and are realizing that one party rule means one party takes all the blame. rofl.

  7. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Stupid Gregz@signsmart.com uses a phony web address as his ID and then thinks no one will Google that ID and not discover he is a low life who has yet to get a business off the ground.

    Bet he’s already loaded up on our tax dollars to get that Advertising business flop of his going.

    Good work Greggie…now when I go on to FB, I’ll make sure SignSmart is boycotted. That how Putin does his hacking these days Greggie? Get little twits to create shell businesses so he can invade our entire lives?

    Remember that name folks…Signsmart.com…and boycott it.

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