Wash. Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg: Sinclair Fills Segments With “Obvious Talking Points” From Conservatives, But Presents Them As “Neutral”

From the May 14 edition of MSNBC's AM Joy:

Video file

JOY REID (HOST): Alyssa, you have at the same time a sort of the standing up of a pretty large media conglomerate. Sinclair Broadcasting has announcedthat they would like to acquire Tribune’s  broadcast stations. And the caption of the article, “Sinclair asked stations  in the past to to run a short segment in which Scott Livingston, the company's vice president for news, accused the national news media of publishing ‘fake news stories.’” This is an entity with huge national reach. If you combine Sinclair and Tribune together, you'd have a huge company that leans to the right that in the past has supported the Donald Trump view of things. What would that mean if broadcast news customers from across this country are now getting news from an entity like Sinclair?  It's sort of a mega-Fox News.

ALYSSA ROSENBERG: So Sinclair is an an interesting comparison to Fox News, because when people turn into Fox they are effectively watching the network as a whole, they're not turning in for an individual show, and they know, to a certain extent what they are getting. They are there deliberately for that ideological leaning. Sinclair is different. They are presenting these segments, which they distribute to the local networks, and say are must-runs, as facially neutral. They're saying this this is not the Fox News version. This is not the fair and balanced version. This is your supposedly unbiased local news. And yet, they are distributing news about a documentary about John Kerry's supposed war record, or they had a segment that argued that the Democratic Party had historically supported slavery. These are things that I think anyone who watches Fox or reads conservative media regularly recognizes spin, but the way that Sinclair works is not to bring you into the ideological bubble, it's to press out things that they say are neutral that are, in fact, the obvious talking points. And that's kind of a pattern in conservative media. You'll see these movies, for example, that are aimed at conservative audiences like God's Not Dead, but then you'll see someone like Pete Berg or Michael Bay making a movie that sort of has conservative ideas that is sort of presented as a non-ideological project. And whether that works for business is the record on that is a little bit mixed. Something like 13 Hours is not a huge hit. Something like God's Not Dead may not reach a large audience, but it definitely has a deep impact. 


NY Times: Sinclair Requires TV Stations To Air Segments That Tilt To The Right


Sinclair Broadcast Is Purchasing Tribune Media. Here's A Short History Of Its Right-Wing Politics

Sinclair Broadcast Group Deepens Its Trump Administration Ties With Boris Epshteyn Hire

Trump Campaign Made A Deal With Media Organization For “Straighter Coverage” During Election

Rosenberg is married to Media Matters' Matt Gertz. Gertz did not participate in the editing or publishing of this clip.