Sinclair and the midterms: Nevada edition
If you live in a midsize city or battleground state, you are now more likely than ever to see propaganda bolstering President Donald Trump and conservative spin on your local news -- just in time for the 2018 election season -- thanks to conservative media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Media Matters has identified communities that will see competitive congressional midterm races and that have Sinclair-owned or -operated news stations. Many Sinclair stations are already airing national news programming with a conservative slant, and they will be ramping up coverage of their local races.
First, we’re looking at Nevada.
Key 2018 races
- Senate: The contest between incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller and Democrat challenger Rep. Jacky Rosen is rated a toss-up by Cook Political Report as of publication.
- House: Nevada’s third congressional district (NV-3) south of Las Vegas is an open race rated as “lean Democratic” by Cook Political Report as of publication.
- Governor: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is not eligible to run in 2018. The election is thus an open race, and it was rated a toss-up by Cook Political Report as of publication.
Sinclair stations in state
KSNV (NBC 3) and KVCW (The CW) in Las Vegas
- KSNV (NBC 3) and KVCW (The CW Las Vegas) both serve parts of NV-3. NBC 3 regularly airs Sinclair’s “must-run” content, including “Bottom Line with Boris” pro-Trump commentary segments, fearmongering “Terrorism Alert Desk” updates, and nationally produced news packages, and it aired the recent anchor-read scripted segments about media bias. Both stations air Sinclair’s weekly news shows Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson and The Armstrong Williams Show.
- NBC 3 does not seem to try to distance itself from the national must-run segments. Anchors have actually introduced these segments as though they’re part of the newscast (rather than sandwiching them in during commercial time or at times with low viewership, as some other stations have been doing) and the segments have featured NBC 3 branding on the screen.
KRXI (Fox 11), KRNV (NBC News 4) and KAME (My21) in Reno
- Sinclair owns and operates KRXI (Fox 11). A Media Matters search of the iQ media database found that Fox 11 aired the scripted promotional segment narrated by Bill Frankmore and Melissa Carlson at least six times between March 23 and March 30.
- Sinclair also provides operations support for two other stations in Reno, KRNV (NBC News 4) and KAME (a MyNetwork affiliate branded as My21), through shared service agreements. All three Reno stations also share a studio space, and My21 does not appear to have its own website, instead posting its schedule on the Fox 11 site.
KENV in Elko
- KENV is licensed to serve Elko -- considered part of the Salt Lake City, UT, media market -- but serves as a semi-satellite to KRNV in Reno, meaning that it airs some of the same news programs but may have different branding. It also shares a studio space with KRXI, KRNV, and KAME in Reno.
What else you need to know
Sinclair’s political action committee gave $1,500 to Heller’s re-election campaign committee in September 2015. Heller serves on the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, including on its subcommittee related to communications and technology -- an important subcommittee for Sinclair.
In January and February press releases, Heller touted Sinclair, among other businesses, for giving “their employees special bonuses and raises” after the passage of the Trump/GOP tax law.
Here’s footage of NBC 3 airing a March “Bottom Line with Boris” segment in which former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn downplayed a potential Democrat wave in 2018 midterms:
Are there Sinclair stations near you?
Use Media Matters’ interactive map at FindSinclair.com to learn more.
Graphics by Sarah Wasko.
UPDATE: This post has been updated to include the Nevada gubernatorial race.