Curator note: The divisive partisanship has been a long time coming and has been fueled by right wing media’s domination of media outlets. We are now at the point where we are deeply divided regarding our trust of the media and many, on the right, believe that there is “fake news” as described and marketed by conservative media, conservative politicians and their surrogates. As with many topics, most of us were vaguely aware of these perspectives but were “asleep at the wheel” and did not realize that the monopolization of the media had already been accomplished.
This concentration of the media in the hands of a few is yet another example of how the US has the earmarks of becoming an oligarchy. This pattern and direction is dangerous for democracy, for the American people’s access to unbiased information and distorts the exercise of a free press.
From Wikipedia — Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning ‘few’, and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning ‘to rule or to command’) is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people might be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next, but inheritance is not a necessary condition for the application of this term.
Throughout history, oligarchies have often been tyrannical, relying on public obedience or oppression to exist. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which another term commonly used today is plutocracy.
The Pew Research Center, of the Pew Charitable Trust, published a report in May of 2017 that highlights how effective the right wing media and Trump’s assault on the mainstream media has been. It has also been effective quickly showing a big change in the last year.
Americans’ Attitudes About the News Media Deeply Divided Along Partisan Lines
Democrats and Republicans, who already tend to place their trust in different news sources and rely on different outlets for political news, now disagree more than ever on a fundamental issue of the news media’s role in society: whether news organizations’ criticism of political leaders primarily keeps them from doing things they shouldn’t – or keeps them from doing their job.
Today, in the early days of the Trump administration, roughly nine-in-ten Democrats (89%) say news media criticism keeps leaders in line (sometimes called the news media’s “watchdog role”), while only about four-in-ten Republicans (42%) say the same. That is a 47-percentage-point gap, according to a new online survey conducted March 13-27, 2017, among 4,151 U.S. adults who are members of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. The gap stands in sharp contrast to January-February 2016, when Americans were asked the same question. Then, in the midst of the presidential primary season, nearly the same share of Democrats (74%) and Republicans (77%) supported the watchdog role.
Sinclair Requires TV Stations to Air Segments That Tilt to the Right
They are called “must-runs,” and they arrive every day at television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group — short video segments that are centrally produced by the company. Station managers around the country are directed to work them into the broadcast over a period of 24 or 48 hours.
Since November 2015, Sinclair has ordered its stations to run a daily segment from a “Terrorism Alert Desk” with updates on terrorism-related news around the world. During the election campaign last year, it sent out a package that suggested in part that voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was historically pro-slavery. More recently, Sinclair asked stations 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.”
List of Stations Owned or Operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group
inclair Broadcast Group is the largest owner of television stations in the United States, currently owning or operating a total of 173 stations across the country (233 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in nearly 80 markets, ranging from markets as large as Washington, D.C. to as small as Steubenville, Ohio.
Many stations are owned outright by the company, but many others are affiliated through other companies through a local marketing agreement, a concept Sinclair pioneered in Pittsburgh in 1991 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forbid duopolies. (The stations involved in the initial deal, WPGH-TV and WPTT — now WPNT — are now both owned by Sinclair outright.) Sinclair has done this with various companies, most notably Cunningham Broadcasting and Deerfield Media, both of which are each believed to be a shell corporation in order for Sinclair to circumvent FCC rules.
The stations are affiliates of various television networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Sinclair also owned or managed several affiliates of the WB and UPN networks, which both launched in January 1995. In September 2006, the WB and UPN merged their operations into a new network, the CW. Eight of Sinclair’s WB stations, along with independent KFBT (now KVCW) in Las Vegas, became affiliates of the new network. At the same time, Sinclair aligned 17 of its stations (ten former WB affiliates, six former UPN stations, and independent WFGX) with MyNetworkTV, a programming service owned by Fox’s parent News Corporation. Sinclair’s relationship with Fox/News Corporation was also strengthened after Sinclair agreed to a six-year affiliation renewal for its 19 Fox-affiliated stations. The deal also included flagship WBFF in Baltimore, despite Fox owning a station, MyNetworkTV affiliate WUTB, in the same market; however, Sinclair would later purchase WUTB.
In addition to the major networks, many Sinclair stations air Ring of Honor Wrestling, a weekly professional wrestling program by Sinclair-owned Ring of Honor. Many Sinclair stations are also affiliated with the Sinclair-owned American Sports Network (ASN) on a secondary basis, effectively making those stations an owned-and-operated station (O&O) of ASN.”