Sinclair Debacle

Does Sinclair Media’s acquisition of local news stations mean the end of unbiased news?

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Recently, a video went viral in which dozens of news anchors from across the country read the same script about distrusting popular media (ironically). This happened because all of those stations have been bought by Sinclair, a media conglomerate. Sinclair then gave them must-run programming, such as Bottom Line With Boris, a two-minute segment aired every day from former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn. Bottom Line is essentially Trump propaganda, spreading blatant misinformation in some cases and undermining the legitimacy of broadcast media. One such segment, aired in April, praised Trump’s tariffs despite warning from experts that it would cause an economically devastating trade war with South Korea, citing a March 25 pact between the two countries that forces South Korea to slash its steel exports to the United States by 30 percent, while exempting it from a regular 25 percent tariff.

Image result for sebastian gorka

Sebastian Gorka

Seriously, does anyone with basic knowledge of an economy think this is a good idea? Another must-run segment features Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump adviser, essentially pushing a conspiracy theory about the so-called “Deep State,” an unelected group of government officials who are supposedly manipulating administration policy. Because of its sheer ridiculousness, it’s a bit hard to relate to other situations. Basically, it’s equivalent to a large news network pushing outright conspiracy theories about 9/11 being an inside job, or that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked. This touches on the root of the problem here — this isn’t a major news network. Somewhat unjustified sentiment against CNN became a serious topic, with hundreds of thousands of Americans branding them as part of the Fake News Media™, and the God-Emperor himself posting memes dissing CNN, which further fed into the vicious cycle. This sentiment spread to basically every news source except Fox News, (probably) Russian political Facebook accounts, and ironically enough, news networks like Breitbart or InfoWars that actively spread conspiracy theories. With this ridiculous chain of events, it’s understandable that many Americans would turn to their ol’ reliable local news sources. And now with nearly 200 stations controlled by a single broadcasting group, the issue here becomes pretty visible. Essentially,differences in opinions expressed throughout the local news-sphere help people create unique but informed opinions, and one corporation monopolizing this news sphere could be incredibly damaging to public opinion in general.

The general impression among staff in Sinclair-owned station is that things haven’t really changed. Traditional news media has been on a decline for the past couple decades as people turn away from magazine subscriptions, and media companies have essentially been scrambling to implement budget cuts to make up for lost revenue. Because of this, positions in media, especially broadcasting, have been very fragile. For example, anyone quitting or being fired would be replaced instantly. In terms of must-run segments, those have been around for a while in the form of shared stories and broadcasting – where one station runs another station’s story.

Apart from dealing with Boris Epshteyn, Sebastian Gorka, and a slew of other conspiracy-ridden and media-distrusting segments, it looks like ultimately, not much is going to change among Sinclair-owned stations.

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Sinclair Debacle