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Confessions Of A Former Sinclair News Director


#1

Confessions Of A Former Sinclair News Director

Aaron Weiss

I was a Sinclair news director. For a few months, at least.


#2

“Fair and balanced”, “the most trusted name in news”, etc. elicit warm and fuzzies in the reptilian brain and translate into “relax and absorb”. The fact of the matter seems to be that anyone who works for a living and has any semblance of a life does not have the time to dig for the truth in the land of spin. Being informed, or even just skeptical of the most public of the messaging systems, does not empower one to truly effect societal change, although it can be a start. One of my heroes, François-Marie Arouet, better known by his nom de plume Voltaire, made a great difference during the early Enlightenment by shining a light on the foibles of the powerful and entrenched. It is now so easy to cast our opinions to the wind (as I am doing now) that it can be hard to concentrate eyeballs on alternative messages to the M$M. I try to work by word-of-mouth techniques when I can, but usually only reach the “choir” as it were. Ignorance may be bliss, but I have chosen vexation. At least we have this site, which is remarkably inhabited by very few trolls (for now).


#3

I’m in a Tribune market, and unplugged myself from it a couple years ago, because of the lack of journalism. One minute of headlines followed by stories of car crashes on the freeway, the weather, and in depth reporting of sports, just doesn’t add up to news in my book. It wasn’t all that political with the exception of Fox. That said, I’m opposed to the further monopolization of “our” airwaves and the further politicization of a populace that already has a hard time believing their own eyes and their own lived experience.

Sad state of affairs. Journalism is almost dead.


#4

The local hostages here are pictured in the upper right hand corner. Not that it will get me even a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s but I wrote about SBC here on CD before anyone picked up the story. I think it was around the 2012 election, or there-abouts. The conservative slant in all of the media here has been pronounced for a very long time. The local paper’s editorial page, once populated (twenty years ago) with a collection of syndicated editorialists of varying views, is now inhabited daily by the most virulent right-wing muckrakers and ideological attack dogs.

During W’s tenure I wrote many contrarian letters to that paper if only because I was hearing dissenting views nowhere, not nationally or locally. To their credit they printed those letters and had a generous 500wd limit to boot. Another gentleman also wrote fairly often whose viewpoint was similar to mine and we became acquainted. He felt outraged that the paper was so slanted. I reminded him that print journalism in this country has always been slanted with the views and interests of the their particular owner(s). And then came the era that Chomsky and Hermann wrote about.

So around 2012 I could see where SBC was going by watching their station here, prior to the talking heads pictured above. I found an article in a business journal (no I didn’t save it and couldn’t say what publication it was) that explained how SBC was strategically positioning itself in political swing regions of the country (selling some assets and acquiring more strategic others to operate under those limits that have now been removed) to dominate the TV landscape there . The purpose was two-fold: to broadcast their “conservative” GOP agenda (and help get R’s elected,) and to harvest the political ad money sure to be spent in those regions. Judging by recent electoral results, I’d say their choices were very canny.

And now, because the last strongholds against the Rovian nightmare are the large metropolitan areas, and with the help of Ajit Pai, they intend to and are positioning themselves to dominate the airwaves there with their vision of the new economic medievalism and permanent right-wing majority.

What SBC does to their local staff is no different than what many of us have already experienced in our merged and consolidated and downsized work experience. I was very good at what I did professionally and made my employer lots of money and provided their clients with quality service. But, at the end, a very large client did not like or maybe even feared my ideological foibles, even though I was very careful not to let my beliefs compromise my work, and there is no-one that could say otherwise. Never-the-less, this client pressured my employer to censure me and eventually push me out. Not enough anymore to be professionally competent, you have to exhibit ideological obedience.

The two pictured above arrived with the ascent of SBC’s concerted political engineering. I don’t know either one of them personally, but I suspect they willingly and enthusiastically embrace their master’s wishes. When movements in Athens and Medina, Ohio (both locations less that two hours drive from here) were trying to fight back against fracking (2011-present) our local smiling faces (above) carried nary a word of it. To this day you’d never know here, watching our SBC station, that ANYONE in Ohio is working against fracking and pipe lining. While all that was going on, we had non-stop ads about how to get the most for your oil and gas rights.

There are several excellent meteorologists at the station, the eldest going back 27 years . They never breath a word about climate change and how it correlates with the local weather. They’d probably be gone the next broadcast if they did, without even so much as a good bye, it’s been good to know ya.


#5

Candide is a great analogy for the uninitiated being led down the path to perdition, lol.


#6

The Denver Post also whitewashes and dissolves protest/objections to the corporate agenda by carefully sifting through letters to the Editor and publishing only those that voice mild objections. I had a letter that made some strong points vanish into the Black Hole of Censorship while one that barely touched the surface of the same issue was published instead. That spoke volumes about the DP. The status quo of dominance and the stranglehold on money/power in American will be difficult to break, since they maneuver to own/control all media and governance. They are relentless and ruthless, and they hunt in packs…somewhat like velociraptors…


#7

Journalism is dead. There is a saying about the demise of a free press means the demise of democracy? But I guess we already knew that the oligarchs (1%) of the world are the ones in control and now is right in our face to see. However, the general public has been propagandized and manipulated to the point of no return? They can’t see our point of view.


#8

Along with the scripted “must-read” statement SBC has made their local slaves broadcast the last several weeks, they invite viewers to message them with a complaint if you believe they have been unfair.

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. On one hand, though I’m sure there are those in power who haven’t forgotten what I’ve written in the past here (locally,) I’m reluctant to help SBC build a dossier of dissident voices, because I don’t trust them any further than I could throw their broadcast tower. Paranoid? The work experience I related above was real, and chilling. And I doubt that anyone other than a political operative will read and process any complaints they might receive.

Haven’t ruled it out completely though…


#9

Right wing news has a market because millions of American view mainstream news as having a liberal bias. To these conservatives mainstream news appears to favor things like racial diversity, environmental protection, separation between church and state, full rights for people of all sexual orientations, etc. Many people on the left of course have an entirely different view of mainstream news viewing it has controlled by large corporations for their own purposes which is why underfunded alternative left wing news has some popularity. The election of Trump has raised the danger that there will only be one type of news, state supported news such as is the situation in China (except for Hong Kong) and basically now in Russia and numerous dictatorships around the world where there is no free press.


#10

The goal isn’t diversity, it is mono culture and the expansion of factory farming. What do all those people featured have in common besides being fast tracked into corporate toadies.


#11

Thank the Lord that there are those whose credibility and integrity are not for sale.

Or, if you choose, thank Humanity.


#12

The best thing that We can all do in regards to “trolls” is to ignore them.


#13

sorry to hear about your work situation … sounds like discrimination … probably hard to prove

thanks for your input on this pro-fascist news company id just heard of them recently but it doesn’t surprise me.

as with almost everything related to the demise of the american middle class it can almost always be traced back to the presidency of saint ronny raygun when he got the “FCC Fairness Doctrine” eliminated

that and the obscene monopoly power enabled by endless corporate media mergers means the regular TV/Cable news is entirely biased even supposedly liberal networks like MSNBC.

I get all my news off of youtube. I trust youtubers more than some suit and tie news anchor making millions of dollars a year.

Walter Cronkite is probably rolling over in his grave.


#14

This is why I don’t bother with watching televised news.
Its so disappointing that, now that humans have all this awesome technology and the ability to immediately disseminate information across the globe, the technology gets co-opted by the powerful and wealthy to spread their propaganda and coerce the rest of us to submit to them. What a blow against the human spirit.

Somebody should set up a tombstone for net-neutrality and investigative journalism. Or at least run and obituary- cause of death: conservativism and corporatocracy.


#15

Yes, but here’s the rub.
Since Right Wing media has been hammering for years that the Main Stream Media is “Liberal”, many Americans are flocking to Main Stream Media in the hopes of finding a dissenting view of our current train wreck of a government. Now what they’re actually seeing are right wing views disguised as “Liberal News”, which only further brainwashes them into buying into the belief that no media can be trusted. They then stop watching, reading, and learning and the oligarchs are free to do whatever they like to whoever they like.


#16

I think by now he has probably rolled OUT of his grave and trying to dig deeper to escape the destruction being done to what he helped build with honesty and integrity.


#17

The Russians in the Soviet era had two newspapers, Pravda (“Truth”) and Isvestia (“News”). And the ordinary people had a saying, “Nye pravda v’Isvestia, nye isvestia v’Pravda”–"there is no truth in ‘News,’ there is no news in “Truth.” I wish our citizens were as savvy as those ordinary Russians.


#18

Welcome to the Hitler Channel. History is repeating itself. During the time of Nazi controlled Germany, Hitler dictated what radio channels a citizen was allowed to listen to for all news and information. He gave out free radios that could only receive the channels that he approved of and controlled. There was of course, no TV in those days. TV is a much more powerful medium than radio. Anyone caught listening to any unapproved radio program was subject to internment into a concentration camp or worse. Yet people resisted. Many people possessed hidden radio sets and longwave and shortwave radios that could pick up the BBC and the Voice of America radio programs to find out what was really going on in the outside world. Anyone who did this was risking their very lives in order to find out the truth!

I first woke up about media and government lies in 1979 and 1980 during the Iranian hostage crisis. I knew that there was something wrong with all the media coverage that I was able to get at the time because when people take hostages there are always demands that are made for the release of the hostages. People do not take hostages because they hate Americans, or because we are not Muslims, or because we are rich and they are poor, or because of " Islamic fundamentalism", or any of the other reasons that we were told by the mainstream media at the time. I felt very suspicious about what the media was trying to make all Americans believe about this situation, but I had no way of knowing if my gut feelings were right or wrong or what exactly was really going on.

I worked graveyard shift 11 pm to 7 am so I slept during the day. One night on my night off, I couldn’t sleep because I was so used to being up all night, so I turned on my old fashioned TV to see what was on at 1 am. Fortunately for me there was a documentary on about the history of Iran that showed how the Iranian people had deposed their king and kingdom and made a democratically elected government. The crown prince was in exile in France. Then, American industrialists wanted to come into Iran and bring in Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, and drill for oil, and make other western business enterprises in Iran. The Iranian government resisted this because they saw America as a corrupt and decadent culture that would destroy their peaceful Islamic traditions and the culture of their country and bring in alcohol, which is forbidden by Islamic law, much as marijuana is looked down upon and made illegal here in America.

The vast quantities of oil and gas deposits that Iran possessed were a great temptation for both America and the then Soviet Union. Iran was a much smaller country between a rock and a hard place concerning the ambitions of these two opposing giants’ interests in their country. When the Iranian government refused to allow American industrialists into their country, as they had also refused the attentions of the Soviets, the Americans grew very angry and frustrated so they went to their members of Congress and falsely complained that the Iranians were siding with the communists against us and that it would be a serious danger if the Soviets controlled the straits of Hormuz as they could shut off a significant amount of the oil that America was increasingly dependent upon. These members of Congress then got our CIA to secretly undertake a coup against the democratically elected Iranian government. They contacted the crown prince in France and got him to agree to serve our interests if we would place him upon the throne in Iran. The CIA then assasinated the entire Iranian government and kept the American people from finding out about it.
The new Shah was placed on the throne that he would have occupied before the democratic government takeover as our puppet dictator. This happened in the late 1950’s, I don’t know the exact date.

Anyway, the Shah was a horrible right wing dictator. We forced him to westernize Iran over twenty five years. So in twenty five years Iran went from a society stuck in the Middle Ages to being a modern western like country. There was only one big problem. Iran is an eastern Islamic country with a proud history that goes back thousands of years before North and South America were ever discovered! Many Iranian citizens resented all of these dramatic changes that were forced upon them against their will, often violated Islamic Law, and happened so quickly that they had little time to easily adapt to this degree of massive change. The Americans in Iran dismissed their concerns by saying to them “What are you complaining about? We are doing you a favor by bringing your country into the twentieth century! You should be thanking us!” This arrogance did not help things.

In order to westernize Iran and the Iranian people against their will the Shah had to use severe tactics. The first thing that he did was to force all the religious clerics called Ayatollahs, out of any aspect of government. This resulted in the often shown fiery speech by Ayahtollah Khomeini where Khomeini calls America " the great Satan". The thing that we are misled to believe is that the Ayahtollah did not say this out of the blue because he hated Americans for some odd reason, as the media is always trying to make us believe, but he said this because he knew that Americans had just killed everyone in their duly elected Iranian government and that we had forced a puppet dictator Shah on them who then threw out all the clerics after they had had political power in Iranian government for eight hundred years! No wonder he was mad! Just think how mad we would be if the situation had been the reverse and we were in their shoes!

The puppet Shah punished severely and people were tortured, killed, and imprisoned for resisting his and our agenda by proxy. He stopped the practices of Sharia Law and forced women to remove their veils. He encouraged women to be independent and attend university. His changes made Iran look like any state in the United States, Iran lost its identity as a culture. It had been westernized. Then, years later, the Shah got cancer. He came to America to get cancer treatments at Dana Farber Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Many of the Iranian people wanted their country and their government back and for the Shah to go away so they could have elected government again. They knew that the best time to get rid of the Shah was when he was sick and weakened, so there were demonstrations and protests by Iranian students, some were women who had put their veils back on in protest. I don’t know how they got ahold of their American hostages, but these hostages were captured and a list of demands for their release was forwarded to our government. However, Carter was advised to not give in to the student’s demands which led to the disasterous helicopter crash by troops sent to rescue the hostages. Meanwhile, back in America, anti-Iranian rhetoric was rampant and very rabid. I read graffiti that read " Save fuel, burn an Iranian." and things like that written all over America. This was the beginning of anti-Islamic hatred in America and its fires were being fanned deliberatly by our own lying media reporting!

Fortunately, and probably as planned by our government, as soon as Ronald Reagan was elected president the demands of the Iranian students were met and the Shah was sent into exile where he later died of cancer. Carter was blamed for mishandling the situation all during the campagn. Iran has been allowed to have its own government ever since, yet it has been under constant government verbal and media attack ever since and maligned at every turn. The Iranians understandably elected a very anti-American president at that time because they were so angry about what we had done to them. This has implications even today as Iran is still constantly being attacked and the charges levied against it have dubious value considering how much false has been said by us in the past and our ambitions in the region. Bush II and Trump seem determined to go to war with Iran no matter what the Iranians do to this day. Netanyahu, of Israel also hates Iran and blames the Iranians of funding terrorism all the time. The dumb thing is that if the Iranians ever wanted to destroy Israel, as Netanyahu always says it does, the Iranians could easily do it anytime by only using conventional weapons. They don’t even need nuclear weapons at all! Yet the Iranians have never launched any attack against the state of Israel. I don’t think that the Iranians want to attack anyone. They are not radical Islamic people at all, but moderate Muslims who just want to be left alone to run their own country in peace. Yet we never can leave them alone! We have been attacking and provoking the Iranian people since the mid fifties, that is over sixty years and we don’t seem interested in slowing down our attacks anytime soon! The people of America are constantly being encouraged to hate and fear all Islamic people using very vicious false rhetoric day in and day out. There must be a very powerful faction in this country that just can’t wait to go to war with Iran for any possible reason at the drop of a hat! Millions of Americans have been misinformed and believe these evil lies about the people of Iran and have been conditioned to hate them. This is truly a terrble situation and all of this happened years before all the recent and progressive media consolidation in this country. Most of this false and hateful rhetoric comes from the republican right wing of politics that is in alliance with the oil and gas industry and the military industrial complex of America. I think that there are powerful greedy forces at work here. This is only one example of how dangerous media consolidation, false and misleading reporting, and media censorship by government or corporations or powerful wealthy people can be. We must not allow Sinclair to take over 72 percent of all local TV in America because it will become our version of Hitler or Trump TV. It will brainwash and misinform even many more millions of Americans who already have little or no exposure to alternative viewpoints than even the infamous Fox News does, and could even be responsible for leading our country into even more unnecessary wars than ever before. This right wing media takeover must stop!


#19

They had better wake up before it’s too late! The zombie apocalypse is here! It is brainwashed Trumpites walking around in a trance with their arms outstretched saying " MAGA, MAGA, MAGA" over and over again! Perhaps we should open some cult deproggramming camps?

I knew we were in big trouble long before CNN put pictures of an apple on TV saying “This is an apple. It is not a banana.” but the fact that CNN has spent money to put out an ad like this is really scary when you think about what it implies. Do we have to send everyone back to kindergarten and start over so we can once again come to some relatively normal sense of reality in America once again?


#20

Yes, more people need to hear this. It is all very scary and wrong. Notice how there are multiple assaults on the internet with the end of net neutrality, the censorship of social media because of Russian attacks and disinformation campaigns, and hate speech, and the media consolidation of all radio and TV news. Then attacks and calls for purges of the FBI and DOJ. This is right out of the dictator playbook! Our country is being sold, lock stock and barrel to the highest bidder, including what used to be the public domains due to privatization.

Somehow, the American people must fight to retake our public common wealth if we can, from these anti democratic forces. Read Democracy in Chains, it explains the origin of the Koch brothers and an economist named Buchanon’s part in trying to turn America into an oliogharchy. I think that all of this also is why all the love for and association with Putin by the Republican Party. The Russian oliogharchs and American oliogharchs have the same goal. I wonder if they are in league to conquer our democratic republic both from within and without? Anyway, these republicans and far right libertarians are the real worst enemies of America and they are the real terrorists and internal enemies that we really should be afraid of. All of this fear of Islamic people is just a distraction and a way for them to make money by justifying unnecessary wars that they profit by.

We are in deep trouble in America. It is much worse than anyone thinks. I think that it is also due to a backlash against green energy by the powerful fossil fuel industry. It seems like there is a growing alliance between Russian, Saudi Arabian, and American oil and gas oliogharchs. This alliance could actually take over the world if it unites and chooses to do so. This is very dangerous! Israel is in on it too. Strange bedfellows.