Not Done With Sinclair Broadcasting

Sinclair_Broadcast-Tribune_Media_big WaPo

Sinclair is just getting started on its pro-Trump agenda

People who are not upset about Sinclair Broadcasting are probably not in a market where Sinclair is broadcasting. An article at reason.com, a Libertarian and right wing web site tells us we have no reason to fear Sinclair, that Sinclair never owns the majority of local stations in a given area. My market is in central New York, with Syracuse as the largest city in Onondaga County although the market includes towns and villages in several other counties. Sinclair now produces local news on 3 of our 4 major local channels. Nexstar, another less invasive Conservative media business operates our one local news channel not owned by Sinclair. Conservatives could conceivably control locals news on ABC, the CW, NBC, and CBS networks. Sinclair controls local programming on the last three named networks.

You may be tired of hearing me drone on about this, but I am sick at heart that this is happening in my hometown. The segments Sinclair inserts into our local broadcasts are not fair and balanced. Sinclair skews its national news on local news reports to back Trump. They are guilty of the very things they accuse others of doing in that shocking statement they force news people to read. In other words they are lying to us.

Sinclair echoes Fox but on the local news

Syracuse, and central New York, is one of those places hit hard by economic change. In the small towns and villages around Syracuse people already watch Fox “News” day and night. These residents have elected representatives to Congress who vote 90-100% of the time with Trump and the GOP. Now their local news repeats the same lies and uses the trust we have in local news to back up the lies they hear on Fox “News” and Fox opinions become fixed as absolute facts. In that Deadspin video you heard how local news people implied that since they tell the “real” news, other sources that disagree with them are fake. People who watch Fox believe this stuff. They don’t see through it.

Our Congress people refuse to meet with their constituents if they are not Trumpers. They will not hold free and open town hall meetings. They will not vote against what the Trumpers want unless voting for something could cause them to lose an election. They voted for those tax cuts which I swear will come back to “bite the middle class in the butt.”

Conservative’s Goal is to Discredit any News that Does Not Lean Right

It seems that there is a concerted effort by Conservatives to push media sources that lean left out of the media entirely. The Koch brothers approve of this (they just bought Time, Inc.) and support it by using their influence to lower barriers at the FCC and in the courts. Sinclair may have nothing like a monopoly but they own enough local news stations in enough key areas to influence the 2018 election. Here is the owner of Sinclair telling us what he thinks of mainstream news.

“David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, said he dislikes and fundamentally distrusts the print media, which he believes “serves no real purpose.” In emails to New York, Smith said that print — as in newspapers and magazines — is a reality-distorting tool of leftists. Print media, he said, has “no credibility” and no relevance.

“I must tell that in all the 45 plus years I have been in the media business I have never seen a single article about us that is reflective of reality especially in today’s world with the shameful political environment and generally complete lack of integrity. Facts and truth have been lost for a long time and likely to never return,” Smith said.

“The print media is so left wing as to be meaningless dribble which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away. Just no credibility.”

Full Measure is a Sinclair product

Local news is not the only programming that Sinclair has “planted” on the stations it now owns. Full Measure is on in the Sunday morning politics line-up on most Sinclair owned stations. Here’s what Wikipedia says about Full Measure.

Full Measure is an American Sunday morning political affairs and investigative news magazine series that debuted on October 4, 2015. Hosted by investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, the syndicated program is produced by the Sinclair Television Group.[2] Airing on most television stations operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group division, it is initially broadcast at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (although some Sinclair owned-and/or-operated stations air the program later in the morning, depending on the scheduling of local and network programming); it is also streamed live-to-air on the program’s website, FullMeasure.news.[

And here’s what Media Matters had to say:

Discredited former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson will host a weekly news show on Sunday mornings starting October 4 on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations, which include ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox affiliates. Attkisson has a lengthy record of shoddy, inaccurate reporting, and she has pushed a bizarre conspiracy theory that the government hacked her home electronics.

Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson promises her new Sinclair Television show will be different than typical Sunday morning public affairs programs, but she couldn’t resist having Donald Trump as her first guest.

[…]

“Full Measure” is the first-ever program produced by the Sinclair Television Group, which owns 162 local TV stations, covering 38 percent of the nation’s TV homes. Most stations will air it at 9:30 a.m., or later in the morning in some markets where Sinclair owns more than one station, like in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Syracuse, N.Y.

The program’s mission is accountability reporting and investigations. Sinclair and Attkisson say “Full Measure” will come without a political agenda, although shared history makes that a pertinent question.

[…]

Sinclair, with its biggest concentration of stations in the South and Midwest, has a history of promoting conservative thought. Sinclair executive Mark Hyman distributes commentaries to its stations. The group told its ABC stations not to run a “Nightline” episode during the Iraq War because it was judged unpatriotic. Livingston said Sinclair believes most media leans to the left, “and our objective is to pull them to the center.” [Associated Press, 9/30/15]*

There is more in the Media Matters article about Sharyl Attkisson’s problematic past in reporting. Check it out.

Daily Mail is Aired on Sinclair Stations

Daily Mail, on the air in late afternoon everyday also finds Sinclair involved, and planning to be more involved once they complete the merger with Tribune Media. Although this is mainly a Hollywood gossip show there is an awful lot of Trump, Ivanka, and company on the show, caught in their more casual moments looking affluent and privileged and quite carefree.

The newest piece of news about Sinclair once again backs up the authoritarian (fascist) outlook of the Sinclair modus operandi. Ex-employees go against the agreements they had to sign with Sinclair in order to reveal the nature of these contracts, Contracts like these were once in common use, but are now considered too punitive.

“After Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. drew widespread criticism for having anchors read a statement taking aim at the integrity of other U.S. media outlets, many wondered why some of the company’s journalists didn’t just quit.

Short answer: The cost may be too steep. According to copies of two employment contracts reviewed by Bloomberg, some Sinclair employees were subject to a liquidated damages clause for leaving before the term of their agreement was up — one that requires they pay as much as 40% of their annual compensation to the company.”

Is Sinclair Dangerous?

Josh Barro, who commented on the Sinclair Deadspin video on MSNBC Monday evening, may want Sinclair in his market but to me it is unwelcome and distressing. Dan Rather and Joe Scarborough seem to agree with me on this. But many comments suggest we are overreacting on this Sinclair invasion. They tell us “all this has happened before.” People were saying that about the Republicans for a long time before Trump was elected but after Trump was elected these same people admit that perhaps some of this differs, at least in degree, from what has occurred in the past. Well they are right, it has all happened before.

Yes it has, in every authoritarian state.

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