Thursday, April 05, 2018

Sinclair Broadcasting is a threat to Democracy

Image result for Sinclair broadcasting




"Sinclair Broadcast Group — a conservative, Trump-friendly television empire — is poised to become one of the most powerful players in the mainstream media. The relatively unknown company, whose stations have mixed conservative commentary with local news, is now on the verge of a deal that would allow it to reach nearly three-quarters of American households." [1]
Trump cleared the way for this propaganda coup by relaxing regulations broadcast ownership.  This was on May 8,2017 after that Sinclair bought Tribune media company giving them 42 stations upon which to broadcast Trump propaganda. [2]

This move was only thought about when Guo's article was published lat year,  since that time it has came to pass and Sinclair is now the nations largest fleet of tv news outlets.[3] The empire is now 200 stations. [4] "So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke," Trump tweeted[5]

Sinclair has been criticized for the propagandist tone of it;s "news." The broadcast terrorist alert, right wing commentary,  "classic propaganda and will reach three quarters of US households."Epshteyn’s softball interviews with administration officials and brusque commentaries are slavishly pro-Trump; a Baltimore Sun columnist wrote that the segments are “as close to classic propaganda as anything I have seen in broadcast television in the last 30 years.”[6] The terrorism alerts serve no purpose other than to create a climate of fear. Pam Vogel of Media matters for America watched 200 such spots only to find:

Conservative TV news giant Sinclair Broadcast Group wants its local viewers to be constantly petrified of an impending terror attack by Muslim immigrants and refugee...Terrorism Alert Desk segments actively reinforce far-right, xenophobic narratives about terrorism by almost exclusively focusing on stories involving Islam in some way, baselessly suggesting ISIS connections to breaking-news incidents, and providing vague soundbites with little information that nonetheless suggest that a “foreign” (brown, Muslim) terrorist lurks around every corner. They also cheer on law enforcement activity indiscriminately, hyping arrests even when suspects were later released without charges and obsessing over preventative security measures like bulletproof walls around the Eiffel Tower. In the absence of anything of quasi-substance to report, the segments resort to generalized fearmongering about things like ISIS graffiti being found in a New York subway station or even isolated, scary incidents that the reporters admit aren’t believed to be terrorism-related at all. After watching the more than 200 Terrorism Alert Desk segments that aired last year, I’m now sure these segments aren’t just the result of journalistic malpractice or sloppiness. They’re a tool strategically designed to make people feel constantly scared -- [7]
Sinclair had all the anchors on all it;s stations read the same statement of propaganda, these have been collected and played at the same time so one can hear them all in uinision:[8]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI

John Oliver made an hilarious video demonstrating the  propagandist aspects,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvtNyOzGogc&feature=share [9]

This move of Sinclair's is an extreme is an extreme threat to our democracy. If one thinks "fake news" can't swing an election a new study shows it did, The 2016 election was swung to Trump because of his own fake news. While he is labeling real news media as "fake" he is dishing out propaganda garbage which of course is really fake news.
Researchers at Ohio State University, finds that fake news probably played a significant role in depressing Hillary Clinton's support on Election Day. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed but which may be the first look at how fake news affected voter choices, suggests that about 4 percent of President Barack Obama's 2012 supporters were dissuaded from voting for Clinton in 2016 by belief in fake news stories.[10]
Richard Gunther, Paul A. Beck and Erik C. Nisbet used three stories from  the 2016 campaign and administered a huge questionnaire to 585 Obama supporters 23% of whom did not vote for Hilary, a quarter of the Obama supporters beloved at least one of the stories. Of those who believed the stories 45% voted for Clinton, for those who did not believe the stories 79% voted for her.[11] Now I can see the methodological flaw in that there is no way to control for the chicken or the egg; did they believe the stories because their support was soft,or did they fail to vote for her because they believed the stories? But if we don't assume the stories bare some of the blame why do we we bother to campaign?

Local news is the most trusted source of information,according to Pew Research. [12]
Trump has been going after the media all the way, it's all fake, only he can be believed.  The only valid sources of information are those that back him, Even when the facts are obliviously against him he is the only one to believe,This is just like every major dictator, the ministry of information is the propaganda arm of any dictatorship and Sinclair is setting up the Trump's ministry of information.This is a clear and present danger to our democracy:

The right reason to oppose this deal [media merger] is that Sinclair’s size and market dominance already threatens the open marketplace of ideas upon which our democracy depends. Allowing Sinclair to combine with another media giant would only make the threat worse.
Sinclair is so large that it would have been illegal throughout most of the 20th century. Into the 1980s, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) enforced strict limits on the number of broadcast stations that one company could own. The so-called “rule of seven” blocked any company from owning more than seven AM, seven FM, and seven TV stations.
The merger that allowed Sinclair to buy the other stations is a dune deal. The only thing we can do now to block the effectiveness of Trump propaganda is to boycott Sinclair's stations, contact any group like Idivisable, or daily action or any resistance group and urge them to organize a boycott.see FN 7.





Sources

[1] Jeff Guo "The Immanent Conservative Takeover of Local tv News,Explained" Vox, (May 15,2017)
https://www.vox.com/2017/5/15/15598270/sinclair-broadcast-imminent-conservative-takeover-of-local-tv-news-explained
(accessed 4/3/18)

[2] Ibid.

[3] Andy Kroll, "Ready for Trump TV? Inside Sinclair Broadcasting's Plot to take Over Your Local News." Mother Jones (Nov.December 2017).
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/ready-for-trump-tv-inside-sinclair-broadcastings-plot-to-take-over-your-local-news-1/
(accessed 4/3/18)

[4] Meghan Keneally, "Trump Defends Sinclair as Media Company Takes Fire for False news Scripts." ABC news (April 3, 2018).
http://abc7ny.com/trump-defends-sinclair-as-media-company-takes-fire-for-false-news-scripts/3293519/
(accessed 4/3/18)

[5] Andy Kroll. Mother Jones, Op cit.

[6] Ibid

[7] Pam Vogel, "Sinclair's Terrriosm Alert Desk Segments are Designed to Gin Up Xenaphobia Via local news," Media Matters for Ameirca, blog (March 1, 2018 ).
https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2018/03/01/sinclair-s-terrorism-alert-desk-segments-are-designed-gin-xenophobia-local-news/219517 (accessed 4/3/18)
(accessed 4/3/18)

Vogel is education program director at Media matters, She has an MA in Sociology from Columbia University and BA in urban studies from Vassar. "Launched in May 2004, Media Matters for America put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation - news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda - every day, in real time."
https://www.mediamatters.org/about

Media Matters for America
PO Box 52155
Washington, DC 20091
(202) 756-4100

[8] "Sinclair's Script for Stations." Video, (March 31, 2018).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI
(accessed 4/3/18)

[9] John Oliver, "Sinclair Broadcast Group,last Week Tonight." Video You tube, pbsliohed July 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvtNyOzGogc&feature=share
(accessed 4/3/18)

[10] Aaran Blake, "A New Study Suggests Fake News May have won Donald trump the 2016 Election," Washington Post (May 3,2018)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/04/03/a-new-study-suggests-fake-news-might-have-won-donald-trump-the-2016-election/?utm_term=.dd4941f4c4e9
(accessed 4/3/18)

[11] Ibid

Here are the false stories, along with the percentages of Obama supporters who believed they were at least “probably” true (in parenthesis):
  1. Clinton was in “very poor health due to a serious illness” (12 percent)
  2. Pope Francis endorsed Trump (8 percent)
  3. Clinton approved weapons sales to Islamic jihadists, “including ISIS” (20 percent)
[12]AMY MITCHELLJEFFREY GOTTFRIEDMICHAEL BARTHEL AND ELISA SHEARER, "The Modern News Consumer." Pew Research Center, Study, (Feb 2017).
http://www.journalism.org/2016/07/07/trust-and-accuracy/
(accessed 4/3/18)

[13]

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/24/sinclair-tribune-media-merger-free-speech
(accessed 4/3/18)












9 comments:

Legion of Logic said...

Fake news is a problem, but it's a far bigger problem than most people realize. Everyone got focused on "stories" that were absolute fabrications during the 2016 election, but that barely scratches the surface.

Fake news takes many forms. Sure, there are completely false stories: "Obama is the brother of Saddam Hussein's cousin!!" That's fake news obviously, but what else?

Deceptive editing: Everyone showed clips of Trump dumping the whole box of fish food in Japan and claimed he was an idiot or impatient and broke custom, but they failed to show the full video in which the Japanese Prime Minister did the exact same thing first. That's fake news. Also, the Snopes article on the claim of Trump screwing that up is "Miscaptioned" instead of "False", so that's why Snopes is a useless resource. Bias is fake news, and it has no place in fact-checking either.

Viewpoint discrimination: Reporting on gun control protests without balancing the reporting with the other half of the country that has other solutions beyond what Democrats propose. That's fake news.

Selective amplification of local stories into national issues: Michael Brown being shot in Ferguson. That was a police officer defending himself from an assailant, according to the evidence we have, and was not worthy of national coverage. On the other hand, when illegal aliens commit murder, that's not worthy of national coverage. The insanely high black-on-black murder rate also does not rate national coverage, for some reason. Why choose the Ferguson shooting? To establish a favored narrative. That's fake news.

All news outlets reporting on the exact same stories and often using the exact same phrasing to describe the story: You can easily find examples of this on a Google search or on YouTube. That speaks of coordination, particularly when the coverage is on stories that are not nationally relevant. That's fake news.

Baseless speculation interjected into reporting: Multiple shootings or even terrorist attacks during the Obama administration involved news anchors "speculating" if the perpetrator was associated with the Tea Party, such as the Giffords shooting and the Colorado shooting. By "speculating" rather than only reporting facts, they are able to plant suspicions in people's minds even if they don't consciously believe the speculation is true. That's fake news. It gets even worse when the "speculation" only goes one way, such as constantly blaming "right wing rhetoric" but never talking about "left wing rhetoric", which is equally caustic. Fake news.

Intentional use of positive or negative connotations to flavor the readers' perception of a story: "Obama White House Scoffs at 'Baseless Accusation'" vs "Trump White House Rocked by Accusation". Even if all the facts in both situations were precisely the same, the perception of the reaction - which automatically feeds into whether you perceive guilt - is completely flavored by word usage. That's fake news.

I could go on, but my point is that Sinclair may be more openly biased, but CNN is as much fake news as anyone. They just use less obvious forms of it. Basically if you don't get your news from multiple sources and from multiple perspectives, you will have no idea what is actually going on. I think that's one of the reasons why our country is getting more polarized.

Joe Hinman said...

Fake news is a problem, but it's a far bigger problem than most people realize. Everyone got focused on "stories" that were absolute fabrications during the 2016 election, but that barely scratches the surface.

there is no fake news, calling the real media fake because you don't like their reporting is destroying democracy. the kind of nonsense you describe below is just bullshit, you are confusing political pinon with "fake news," It's s not fake just because you disagree with it.

Fake news takes many forms. Sure, there are completely false stories: "Obama is the brother of Saddam Hussein's cousin!!" That's fake news obviously, but what else?

Deceptive editing: Everyone showed clips of Trump dumping the whole box of fish food in Japan and claimed he was an idiot or impatient and broke custom, but they failed to show the full video in which the Japanese Prime Minister did the exact same thing first. That's fake news. Also, the Snopes article on the claim of Trump screwing that up is "Miscaptioned" instead of "False", so that's why Snopes is a useless resource. Bias is fake news, and it has no place in fact-checking either.

so uf you take away such exaggeration like that he;s realty a Rhodes scholar,

Joe Hinman said...

CNN does't reach 4 i 10 house holds,they don';t pretend to be independent local satiation but then force the same script on all of them, which is written by the white house and it wasn't put tighter in a monopolistic merger.

It really confuses the issue and ignores the big picture to pretend that CNN is on par with the fascist propaganda machine.

7th Stooge said...

Because you can cite individual anecdotes of bias from both sides and based on those anecdotes to conclude that each 'side' is equally biased doesn't follow. There are anecdotes of bias among flat earthers as well as among astrophysicists. Therefore they're equally biased!

Joe Hinman said...

that is an excellent point 7.

Joe Hinman said...

7 what do you think of the compassion between CNN and copy written by the white house Isn't that like answering all the charges of sexism and unfairness to women by saying but women are always late?"

I once had an argument with a guy about women having position of authority in the church. His argument was women always go with children in the life boats therefore they are a kind of children.

Joe Hinman said...

Baseless speculation interjected into reporting: Multiple shootings or even terrorist attacks during the Obama administration involved news anchors "speculating" if the perpetrator was associated with the Tea Party, such as the Giffords shooting and the Colorado shooting. By "speculating" rather than only reporting facts, they are able to plant suspicions in people's minds even if they don't consciously believe the speculation is true. That's fake news. It gets even worse when the "speculation" only goes one way, such as constantly blaming "right wing rhetoric" but never talking about "left wing rhetoric", which is equally caustic. Fake news.

that's brainless nonsense, that really is like answering the accusation that men oppressed women going back to the time of the garden by saying:but women are always late.

the piddling little BS speculations about the tea party which was a contrived organized public relativism stunt of the republicans,with the democracy smashing fascists take over that Trump is spear heading is just imbecilic,

Eric Sotnak said...

"Sinclair may be more openly biased, but CNN is as much fake news as anyone"

This is just a false equivalence. The fact of the matter is that one reason so much of the news is biased against trump is that there is so much solid basis for such a bias. If you look at the basis of most of Trump's charges of "fake news", he doesn't provide a fact-based rebuttal. He just says "fake news" without pointing to any actual evidence. And overwhelmingly, his charges of fake news are most likely to come in response to anything that portrays him in an unflattering light (exactly what one would expect from someone with a narcissistic personality disorder).

7th Stooge said...

Good points, Erik. That is why I suspect that Trumpism is more an authoritarian personality cult than it is a political ideology, and why it's potentially more of a threat to democratic institutions.