Conservative local TV news giant Sinclair Broadcast Group has been quietly injecting right-wing spin into local newscasts for years. The company thrives when it flies under the radar, serving local audiences who might not realize what they’re tuning in for — so Media Matters is helping to highlight where communities can fight back.
Sinclair's most well-known tactic for slanting newscasts is its use of nationally produced “must-run” commentary segments. The segments, which all Sinclair-owned and operated news stations are required to air, include (frequently embarrassing) pro-Trump propaganda missives from former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, rants about “politically correct” culture from former Sinclair exec Mark Hyman, and fearmongering “Terrorism Alert Desk” segments that seem to often focus on just about anything Muslims do.
Now Sinclair is ramping up its efforts with a proposed acquisition of Tribune Media stations. The purchase would allow Sinclair to expand its presence in mid-sized cities across the country (particularly in battleground states) and enter the media markets of the largest U.S. cities for the first time. Many of the top markets Sinclair will enter — like New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL, and Houston, TX — are also top markets for black and Latinx viewers specifically. Sinclair is working to get final regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice for its acquisition of Tribune Media. If the acquisition gets the agencies’ final stamp of approval, Sinclair-controlled newscasts will reach nearly three out of four U.S. households.