The company that is soon to own WDAF 4 has instituted a lot of changes at it’s stations; take WJAR-TV, which is mandated to broadcast of multiple programs favorable to Generalissimo Donaldo Juan Trumpo on that state’s most-watched television station.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, a rapidly growing media company that bought Channel 10 in 2014, produces “must-run” segments and distributes them to its local stations nationwide. They must air during daily news programming, Sinclair executives said.
Sinclair is poised to become the nation’s largest owner of TV stations and, with its recent hire of former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, viewers can expect to see more of the chain’s political programming.
The practice, which has infused a political flavor into the 68-year-old WJAR’s broadcasts, started quietly there at least a year ago.
Three of the segments have rattled viewers and WJAR’s own news reporters, according to Fletcher Fischer, the business manager and financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1228, the union that represents broadcast workers there:
- The Terrorism Alert Desk, advertised as a daily news update about terrorist activity.
- News pieces from Epshteyn, Sinclair’s chief political analyst.
- A clearly labeled opinion show featuring Mark Hyman, a former vice president of the company.
These pieces are fed to Sinclair’s 174 stations in the United States every day.
Sinclair’s insertion of the segments into news programming has been harshly critiqued by Rhode Islanders and national commentators.
Gloria Crist, a 54-year-old actress from Tiverton, says she’s stopped watching the station.
Rep. David N. Cicilline condemned the practice, saying: “Rhode Islanders rely on our local news being produced in Rhode Island, not directed by a national conglomerate for local broadcasters to deliver.”
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote, “What Fox News is for cable, Sinclair could become for broadcast: programming with a soupçon — or more — of conservative spin.”
And HBO’s John Oliver dedicated a show to what he calls Sinclair’s corporate propaganda.
But Sinclair says it’s providing national commentary to “free up” reporters “to create more local news, which we considered to be squarely in the public interest.”
So much for the “liberal” mainstream media, n’est-ce pas?
WDAF is already a FOX sock puppet, so perhaps there won’t be too significant a change locally. And hey! our own Terrorism Alert Desk! Hoo boy – bring on the popcorn!
Better yet, Sinclair is launching a “national investigative news team“, which we would assume, would –at least locally– delve into the Kansas City Water Department incompetency, the downtown hotel cash give-away, as well as the illegalities surrounding the street car.
What could possibly go wrong?