George Orwell predicted that newsspeak would come to dominate the news. He was just wrong about the date. Instead of “1984,” he was off by a mere 36 years. It’s here now. Just watch these local news anchors in different markets spout the same Donald Trump trope about “fake news”–in lock-step.
What unites these stations in markets as widely varied as Montana and South Carolina is not the same ideological beliefs but corporate owner Sinclair Broadcasting, which forces its beliefs on the stations.
IM reported last July that local news Sinclair markets were being forced to broadcast right-wing slanted reports tailored to their stations. It would shock even George Orwell.
The problem is, Sinclair represents an intense concentration of news markets in the hands of one company, and its trying to grow even larger.
In its latest move, the company is making a play for Tribune Media’s 42 local television stations. If consummated, the $4 billion deal would give Sinclair 2.2 million viewers and unprecedented reach into local communities across the country.
Normally, local news is sharply focused on the here-and-now of a particular community. So it’s hard to see how a corporate overlord could slant broadcasts. But Sinclair dishes up its own “news” packages and scripts and forces local stations to air the segments as “must runs.”
Just check out the video below, complied by Deadspin and a discussion of it on CNN. Let us know your thoughts, while you still have them.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018