The Sinclair Group: A New Hope For Conservative Television News
Faithful readers may remember way back, in my effective manifesto for the Culture War, how I laid out the need to fight on the battlefield of the “mainstream” press:
So here’s how we’d have to do it: Conservative businessmen unknown to the hit squads of the other side, organizing into joint venture conglomerates. And buy up: take these [pre-established media] companies, and break the power of the Left.
Those internet channels [of ours, like The Blaze and Newsmax] are fine—as alternative outlets for Conservatives. That still leaves the rest of America at the mercy of the “mainstream” media. We need to fight that, not just create our own bubble.
You may also remember how the Koch Brothers tried to do exactly that—making a bid to buy up the Tribune Company. Alas…they ain’t exactly “unknown”—legendary bogeymen to the Left that they are. The Left put up a fight, and the Koch Brothers quietly stepped away, noting they probably bit off more than they could’ve chewed….
But as I noted, all we need was a conglomerate of relative unknowns. Lo and behold, dear readers…say hello to the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
In answer to the question: the Sinclair Group seems to focus on “local” television stations—specializing in news affiliates. Basically, they act more interested in the stations themselves, as opposed to the networks—the “nationwide” programming.
They’re also quite Conservative—and their quiet workings have caused similarly quiet grumblings amongst the “mainstream” media. See, the Sinclair group’s been known to snip out instances of bias from the news reporting (such as the constant drumbeat of the Iraq War death toll), as well as issue out mandatory reports and editorials with a Conservative slant. Needless to say, self-righteous “centers” issued “concerns” of—yes—bias, and “anything but fair and balanced news programming”.
Mm-hmm. As Sinclair executive Mark Hyman notes, “The reason why some on the Left have characterized us as Conservative is that we run stories that others in the media spike.”
All right, then. That’s the “who”. So…what did they do?
No, not the Tribune Company—that recently split up, between “Tribute Publishing” (the papers, like the Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times) and “Tribune Media”. So, it’s not as big a fish as the Koch Brothers went after.
Still…it’s big. Big enough that now, their full range of television stations rival the range of the networks themselves:
The breadth of the combined company is eye-popping, even after two decades of consolidation of TV station ownership. The combined entity would own 223 TV stations serving 108 markets, including 39 of the top 50. The group’s stations would reach some 72% of U.S. TV households. That’s nearly twice the reach of its nearest broadcast competitors: Nextstar (39%), CBS (38%) and Fox (37%).
…Sinclair already owns stations aligned with every major English-language broadcast network and three Univision outlets. The Tribune acquisition will extend the company’s clout in dealmaking, with networks and in restransmission consent negotiations with MVPDs, by adding 14 Fox affiliates and 12 CW affiliates, as well as affiliates of CBS (six), ABC (three) and NBC (two). With the Tribune stations added in, Sinclair will be the largest owner of ABC, Fox, CW and MyNetwork TV affiliates.
By the way, Tribune Media includes a network called WGN, which includes original programming….
Now, for the most part this is a subtle, yet major, victory. Effectively, we’ve gained a lot of strategic positions in preparation for a massive battle. The question is, is that all we’ve gotten?
Rush theorizes that the Sinclair Group’s laying out the groundwork for a Conservative non-cable network—an alternative, not to CNN and MSNBC…but to CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox Broadcasting, and PBS. Maybe this is where WGN comes in, I don’t know. What I do know is: a foundation’s been laid for something big. Maybe even huge, in the Donald Trump sense of the world: “It’s yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge….”
I can’t help thinking: Is this the “big alternative to Fox News” those Conservative investors were talking about, not too long about? Were those investors, in fact, the Sinclair Group?
Maybe. Just maybe. A crazy speculator might theorize that OANN might find itself out of the “high-number” holding tank, and into countless American homes, many of which have long ago “cut the cord”. Or maybe The Blaze, or Newsmax, or CRTV—or a combination of more than one.
But whether this is that discussed alternative or not, brace yourself. As Bob Dylan would say, “The times, they are a-changin’.”
Image source: Wikimedia Commons / LibertarianGuy
License: GNU Free Documentation
Eric was raised by Conservative Christian parents, but first became especially passionate about politics in high school, through reading up on economic theory. He also first read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged around this time, for the ARI's essay contests. He now owns a great deal of Ayn Rand's work. Also included in his library are the collected works of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, etc.
Eric is no stranger to writing commentary, as the writer of the Conservative Considerations column on CampCampaign.com, and as a film critic and commentator on FlickRev.com. He has also carried on the Conservative tradition of talk radio commentary, as the host of "Avengers of America" for the USF student radio station, Bulls Radio. In the meantime, he is practicing what he preaches: Striving to enter the professional realm of Hollywood, he has already written and directed short films for the Campus MovieFest, which can be found on his YouTube channel, Hard Boiled Entertainment.