Sinclair Broadcast Group

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?

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Confederate

So, once again: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.1

HBO’s motives aside, the plea to wait supposes that a problem of conception can be fixed in execution. We do not need to wait to observe that this supposition is, at best, dicey. For over a century, Hollywood has churned out well-executed, slickly produced epics which advanced the Lost Cause myth of the Civil War. These are true “alternative histories,” built on “alternative facts,” assembled to depict the Confederacy as a wonderland of virtuous damsels and gallant knights, instead of the sprawling kleptocratic police state it actually was. From last century’s The Birth of a Nation to this century’s Gods and Generals, Hollywood has likely done more than any other American institution to obstruct a truthful apprehension of the Civil War, and thus modern America’s very origins. So one need not wait to observe that any foray by HBO into the Civil War must be met with a spirit of pointed inquiry and a withholding of all benefit of the doubt.”

Confederate

“After all, this show’s premise proposes to create a “fictionalized” plot about the continuation of slavery, as if thousands of American farmers and corporations didn’t continue to practice slavery well into the 1940s. The show acts as if the latter half of the twentieth century didn’t see America’s prison population swell with millions of Black bodies. It pretends that today’s prisons and venerable corporations don’t exploit the 13th amendment to profit from forced prison labor. HBO’s Confederate imagines that there aren’t more people under state control today than there were in chains at the peak of American slavery.”

Confederate

Confederate, the sci-fi, alt-history drama of what the United States would look like if the North had lost the Civil War, had been announced by HBO in late July. The brainchild of Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the series is a four-part collaboration between Weiss and Benioff, who are white, and Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, a married writer and producer couple, who are black. The Spellmans are behind hit television shows The Good Wife and Empire.

The show, in early stages of development, has received major backlash. April Reign, creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, mobilized the Twittersphere on Sunday night with #NoConfederate, a joint effort between Reign and activists Rebecca Theodore, Jamie Broadnax, Shanelle Little, and Lauren Warren. And they were not alone in their concerns — earlier, critic Roxane Gay had condemned the series in the New York Times, calling it “slavery fan fiction.”

The message? Do not run this show.

Reign posits that the subject alone is reason enough to cancel the show, pointing out that the effects of slavery are still felt today. Responding to someone suggesting that the show might illustrate what living with racism is like, Reign tweeted: “You mean white people. People of color are well aware of this. We don’t need a TV show. We have, you know, our daily existence and stuff.”

Confederate

Show 1 footnote

  1. Or, if one is cynical enough, perhaps HBO knows exactly what its doing: broadening the blood thirsty audience brought in by GoT to include the drooling knuckle-dragging, paste-eating tRump supporters who would normally eschew HBO as being too “cosmopolitan.”

Peter Pan

We don’t know how the hell we were — until just this moment — unaware of tonight’s…mmm…what would you call this: event? But we were – Christopher Walken as Captain Hook in Peter Pan?

Performed as a musical. And live, to boot.

Holy ticking crocodile, Batman!

This has the possibility of being the campiest thing on TV since…well, Batman.

The Astas have already claimed the TV at that time – Peter Pan is a longtime favorite; they were smitten by Williams (and aghast at Hoffman) in Hook, and of course have seen the Disney animated version 1 several times.

In any event that’s all by the way; what really took our interest was the fact that this production is a musical. Which means there will be singing and, one presumes, dancing. Which should be fun – Walken was a noted hoofer long before people were drawn to his readings. Now in his early 70s we doubt he will be up to reprising his Fat Boy Slim vid 2, much less his earlier work, but combined with his unique style, this ought to be really amusing. You should definitely tape 3 this baby.

For those of you who’ve not had a chance to watch Walken dance, we give you Tom The Pimp wooing recruiting the ever delectable Ms Peters…

Peter Pan

Show 3 footnotes

  1. I still have a hard time believing it was done in the 50s.
  2. At least not “live.”
  3. Yes, I said tape; it’s not your grandpa’s term. It’s short, sweet, to the point and not anywhere near as ungainly as saying “Yeah, I DVR’d the game yesterday.” Really? Did you hurt yourself doing that?