31 March 2018

Orwellian



Watch the video (runtime less than two minutes) before reading further.

Last fall an article in The Guardian offered these observations:
Sinclair Media Group is the owner of the largest number of TV stations in America. “Sinclair’s probably the most dangerous company most people have never heard of,” said Michael Copps, the George W Bush-appointed former chairman of Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the top US broadcast regulator...

The New York Times refers to the group as a “conservative giant” that, since the Bush presidency, has used its 173 television stations “to advance a mostly right-leaning agenda”. The Washington Post describes it as a “company with a long history of favoring conservative causes and candidates on its stations’ newscasts”...

Another cause for concern, and increased scrutiny, is what’s seen as the company’s pronounced political agenda. Sinclair forces its local stations to run pro-Trump “news” segments. In April, they hired Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump campaign spokesman and member of the White House press office, as its chief political analyst. His “must-run” 10-minute political commentary segments unsurprisingly hewed closely to the Trump administration’s message. The news and analysis website Slate, referring to Epshteyn’s contributions, said: “As far as propaganda goes, this is pure, industrial-strength stuff.”..

The focus of the concern is Ajit Pai, the man Trump appointed as head of the country’s top broadcasting regulator, the FCC. Since he began work in January, Pai has been busy relaxing the protections for local broadcasting that had previously limited Sinclair’s expansion. Trump’s new-look FCC has moved swiftly to clear the hurdles for Sinclair’s proposed takeover of Tribune... In addition to changes paving the way for Sinclair’s merger, Pai’s FCC has proposed eliminating one of its most fundamental rules, which requires local news stations to actually have a local studio where they broadcast the news.
Way more at the link.   Does Sinclair own a station in your broadcast area?  Almost certainly.  Wikipedia has a list of the stations owned or operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

I have to commend whoever composed the video.  It is an absolute masterwork - and quite chilling.

For those interested in pursuing this more deeply, Judy Woodruff presented a segment on the PBS Newhour discussing the impact of Sinclair's extensive ownership of local television channels.

15 comments:

  1. This is illustrates only one of the many reasons I do not own a (broadcast receiving) television.
    Unfortunately there isn't an information medium not afflicted by the same sort of slanting (or plain bias)

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  2. I don't watch television either. I quit watching television news many years ago.

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  3. With respect, I think that the right would claim that the "mainstream" stations are the ones who are holding to a standard line. For instance, Trump is bad, guns are bad, etc.

    Now, even those of us who voted for Trump realize he is not all we would want from a president. At the same time, it is hard to not notice that Trump's indiscretions (as with Stormy Daniels) is not given the "pass" that Clinton got from the Democrats. Yes, I know that the way the political game has come to be played, hypocrisy is acceptable if it does damage to the other side.

    But this is a FAMILY. And to seemingly be happy to try to tear apart a man's family because you disagree with his politics...not cool (nor was it cool when the right seemingly believed every bad thing about Obama--which drove me from the Republican party, turning me into an Independent).

    No one can fail to notice that it seems that certain media have NOTHING good to say about Trump. Really? Worse, it seems that they WANT Trump to fail. Even though I was opposed to much of Obama's agenda, I did not want him to fail! I simply wanted him to change up on some things.

    Does anyone doubt that Trump, whether you agree with him or not, wants what is best for America? OF COURSE HE DOES! He certainly wants to leave behind a legacy of having done some good for our nation. And yet it does not matter WHAT Trump does (except die, it seems) that will please many in the media. If he wants to go in a certain direction, the media will tell you how bad a choice that is. If he changes course, then he is unstable and doesn't know what he wants to do.

    We are going to reap the whirlwind if we keep playing this game of "take no prisoners." I have little doubt that we will eventually see another wave of seccession, but this time, there won't be a war...we will just fall apart.

    So, all of that to say that BOTH SIDES have an agenda, and both sides are playing Orwellian games.

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    Replies
    1. The brainwash is strong with this one

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    2. Just to be clear, I'm only talking about the one line:

      "Does anyone doubt that Trump, whether you agree with him or not, wants what is best for America? OF COURSE HE DOES!"

      If you sincerely believe that, I'm afraid you are either blinkered or delusional.

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    3. You rather disingenuously switched from stating that Clinton got a pass from the Dems, to inferring that Trump is Not getting a free pass from the- Press! Comparing apples and oranges...

      You Can make the argument that both parties supported their POTUS, but you CANNOT make the argument that the press has not been all over both of them for their indiscretions.

      What you Can Also say is that Clinton was impeached for his indiscretions- and Repubs will NOT allow that with Trump this time around!

      These kind of bait and switch non-comparisons are an oft used political strategy by politicos.

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  4. I knew it was bad, but I had no idea it was that bad. Holy Moly! Scary.

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  5. Note: The deregulation of media, allowing companies to own many more stations started under Bush, and led us to have Clearchannel (iHeartRadio) and CBS Radio (or whatever it's called at the moment) owning (and destroying) most radio stations. It is off note that Clearchannel is currently in bankruptcy.

    @ Aaron S: Does anyone doubt that Trump, .... wants what is best for America?

    I do. It is evident from his actions. Donald Trump cares about himself, and his brand. Every decision he takes benefits him, and him alone. And unless you are part of his inner circle, very few of his decisions have benefited you.

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    Replies
    1. It started before that, with Reagan, or maybe even earlier. I recall when one entity could not own more than two radio stations in one market (one AM and one FM). It's only been getting worse since then. The concentration of money and power into fewer hands just keeps on...

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  6. But if it were all about him, don't you think he'd resigned instead of continuing on? I mean, he is bashed all the time, but sticks in there anyway. That doesn't sound like someone who is in it just for himself.

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    Replies
    1. If Trump voluntarily resigns, he does so with significant damage to his brand; plus, he can attempt to counter whatever Mr. Mueller digs up much more potently as POTUS, than as private citizen...

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  7. Guys, lets try to keep the focus for this post on media ownership rather than on presidential performance.

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  8. The first time I heard of this was when John Oliver had a piece on them last year. I don’t understand how this can be legal. And of course, their influence is compounded by the sort of audience I assume they get by being a local broadcast. Who watches local network news anymore?

    The Last Week Tonight episode in question:
    https://youtu.be/GvtNyOzGogc

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    Replies
    1. And by “this” I mean the Sinclair Broadcast Group and their tactics and “news.”

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  9. Hey! There's my Little Rock news anchors. Yikes.

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