Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Outrageous Assault on Our Democracy

Here is Kyle Smith writing at National Review about just one of the outrageous assaults on our democracy:

The bipartisan case against a broadcasting behemoth’s shameless editorializing.

Sinclair Broadcast Group was caught red-handed when it ordered local news anchors at its stations to read an editorial handed down from their parent corporation. The outrage that followed, heated as it was, was bipartisan and entirely justified.

Jimmy Kimmel, an increasingly vital and astute observer of the political scene, was among the first to raise the alarm after Deadspin published a video exposing Sinclair. Kimmel tweeted that it was “dangerous to our democracy” for newscasts aired by Sinclair-owned stations to include virtually identical segments in which local anchors read from a script ginned up at corporate headquarters about the dangers of biased and irresponsible reporting.

Another widely respected source of nonpartisan media commentary, Dan Rather, wrote in a Facebook post, “News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda. It’s Orwellian. A slippery slope to how despots wrest power, silence dissent, and oppress the masses.” Considering the stakes here, the grammatical lapses are forgivable. You’d lose your ability to construct a sentence too if you sensed the risk as keenly as Rather does.

The Washington Post called Sinclair’s action “stunning.” Even right-wing commentators heaped contempt on Sinclair: On her HLN program, conservative columnist S. E. Cupp compared the newsreaders who appeared in the video editorials to members of the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult.

But the Sinclair propaganda onslaught is much more troubling than the unfortunate deaths of a tiny band of crazy people. Isn’t the looming death of our democracy far more perilous? If anything, criticism of Sinclair has not gone far enough. Even the corporate overlord’s most stalwart critics haven’t taken notice of the obvious echoes of the practices of Fox News Channel, which also airs political commentary on stations seen in hundreds of cities across the country and also has millions of viewers. My research assistants have uncovered evidence that CNN and MSNBC are doing the exact same thing. This is a bipartisan scandal.

Read more: National Review

Image credit: National Review / Sinclair-run news stations. (MSNBC via YouTube).