If you thought that Fox News looked like state-run media, just wait until you see the Trump propaganda that is now being forced onto local news channels across the country. This is the kind of stuff you’d expect to see in North Korea, not here in America.
In May, the Sinclair Broadcast Group bought the Chicago-based Tribune Media Company, creating what is being called “a TV Goliath.” The deal is currently pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission. But if the deal is approved, Sinclair will have access to 72 percent of American households.
The problem? The ultra-conservative Sinclair makes Fox News look mainstream. They are extremely pro-Trump. And they are determined to drown out real news with propaganda straight from this administration.
In December, Politico reported that Jared Kushner had struck a deal with Sinclair to get more positive coverage of Donald Trump. And the media giant agreed to air Trump’s comments and speeches in full without commentary. In exchange Trump gave them exclusive access.
Now, instead of having unfiltered Trump every other day, Sinclair stations give their viewers a daily dose of pro-administration talking points delivered by former White House stooge Boris Epshteyn. You may remember him from his many contentious interviews on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC during the campaign and transition.
As Slate puts it,
“The problem here isn’t that Epshteyn is expressing his right-wing views. The issue is that Epshteyn’s commentaries—amplified by a rich and sprawling pro-Trump enterprise—are colonizing even the virgin corners of the local news landscape.”
Sinclair executives say that they are producing “must-run” segments and distributing them to all of their local stations nationwide.
The Providence Journal in Rhode Island reported on Saturday,
“The company that owns WJAR-TV [Sinclair] is mandating the broadcast of multiple programs favorable to President Donald Trump on the state’s most-watched television station.”
The Journal says that they have been receiving many complaints about the far right pro-Trump segments. They say there are three segments that are particularly upsetting both the viewers and the station’s own news reporters.
‒ The Terrorism Alert Desk, advertised as a daily news update about terrorist activity.
‒ News pieces from Epshteyn, Sinclair’s chief political analyst.
‒ A clearly labeled opinion show featuring Mark Hyman, a former vice president of the company.
These segments are all about fear mongering and propaganda. And they are being fed to Sinclair’s 174 stations in the United States every single day.
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan said,
“What Fox News is for cable, Sinclair could become for broadcast: programming with a soupçon — or more — of conservative spin.”
Sinclair says that they are providing national commentary to “free up [reporters] to create more local news, which we considered to be squarely in the public interest.”
“Sinclair has the power to saturate the country in POTUS-friendly voices and opinions. That’s the kind of move that, it stands to reason, might help a media conglomerate that’s awaiting an important ruling from Trump’s FCC.”
Check here for a list of Sinclair stations. You can look up your city, they’re listed alphabetically, to see if any of your local stations are currently owned by Sinclair.