Networks and other establishment media outlets are blasting Sinclair Broadcast Group for having anchors at its affiliates all record the same promotional video, but a media watchdog says there’s nothing nefarious about the message and the bigger outlets are exposing their hostility for any sources that are not blatantly liberal.
The controversy began when the liberal sports site Deadspin edited a mashup of all the affiliates stating the same commitment to check facts before going on the air with any news stories.
Comedian and HBO host John Oliver said the video showed Sinclair and its affiliates to be a “brainwashed cult.” CNN and MSNBC spent considerable air time denouncing the supposed groupthink, as did some of the broadcast networks. That’s a decision that has Media Research Center Vice President for Culture and Business Dan Gainor fuming.
“This is a story that particularly annoys me because the media are being so hypocritical,” he said.
“These are, in many cases, journalists representing syndicated outlets: ABC, CBS and NBC syndicate every day three to four hours of morning news, a half hour of evening news and several hours of entertainment coverage every day to their member stations,” said Gainor.
He says the reporters are getting bent out of shape over a very minor difference from their own operations.
“The only difference between that content appearing in one location or another and what Sinclar did is that Sinclair had it read by multiple people using the same script. The broadcast networks just use the same show,” said Gainor.
So if the common promo is not worthy of such outrage, why are the big media outlets turning their guns against Sinclair?
“The broadcast networks and the lefty cable networks all think that Sinclair must be stopped. They’re out to stop Sinclair from buying Tribune. This is a blatant political play on behalf of the allegedly neutral journalists,” said Gainor.
Gainor also says Sinclair has a reputation for being in the tank for President Trump because it won’t cover him the way the liberal outlets do.
“Sinclair doesn’t lean as far to the left as they do. Sinclair has been accused of being pro-Trump, but in the land of liberal media … not attacking Trump every second of the day is to the networks, by comparison, pro-Trump,” said Gainor.
Gainor says the bias in the media is obvious. He points to CBS morning host Gayle King chiding Sinclair even though she has given “tens of thousands of dollars” to Democratic organizations. He also says the most virulent anti-Trump reporters get rewarded, including lesser known figures such as April Ryan and Brian Karem.
“No one ever heard of them prior to (anti-Trump statements in the White House Briefing Room), then as soon as that happened, they were hired by CNN,” said Gainor.
He says it’s nothing new, pointing out that 50 years ago CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite declared the Vietnam War unwinnable, and even media icons like Edward R. Murrow were “huge, die hard liberals.”
Gainor says independent journalism is facing rough waters right now.
“It’s very tough. Journalism in general hasn’t been doing well financially for many years,” said Gainor.
He says the industry took a big hit when the dot com bubble burst in 2001 and suffered badly in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn. He says that crisis also deepened the bias.
“The 2008-2009 stock market collapse caused a nationwide recession. In journalism it caused a nationwide depression. Journalists lost their jobs by the thousands and they haven’t really come back. So the journalists all want to save their jobs and attack anyone who disagrees with them,” said Gainor.
Gainor says it is vital to the nation and its politics for independent and conservative media to have a place in the arena. He says there are two key ways for that to happen.
“We need top donors to get involved to fund more conservative outlets. There’s new outlets opening up all the time. That’s an opportunity. But outlets are only as good as the people who staff them. So I strongly encourage young conservatives to go into journalism,” said Gainor.