....LMB: "Curtain #2"....

October 17, 2004

Journalistic scholar Jay Rosen does some deep thinking about the Sinclair propaganda scandal and asks a key question: is Sinclair a media company with political ambitions, or is Sinclair a political organization that masquerades as a media company?

Rosen discusses a number of ways in which Sinclair has become explicitly political. The first is the corporation's daily segment where the VP of Corporate Relations gets to spout a bunch of conservative drivel and have it aired all across the network. Second is their odd conservative-leaning mini-news program that they force their affiliates to insert into their local news broadcasts. And third, they're willing to lose tons of cash--the company's stock price has dropped to its lowest level since 1995-- in order to broadcast their anti-Kerry "documentary."

David Niewert theorizes that Sinclair might be a type of suicide army, out to achieve its master's political goals even if it is destroyed itself in the process.

What the hell is the Sinclair Group? What is its long term agenda? We best keep an eye on them.

[correction]

Incorrect hyperlink for Rosen's article. Fixed now.

[/correction]

Posted by Jake at 10:46 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Of all the underhanded, devious, sanctimonious tricks pulled by the GOP and its supporters in this election, this has to take the prize. Is there any doubt as to the howls of outrage that would be elicited from a national tv screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 that same week? Isn't this kind of partisan pandering illegal so close to the election? Can anyone tell me this isn't the most blatant Republican tactic yet perpetrated to cast aspersions on Kerry which were obliterated by his performances during the 3 debates? I can't believe how desperate the Bush camp has become to stoop to these Orwellian mindfucks on his own electorate. The duplicity of Sinclair and other sycophantic Neo-Con shills is vulgar and obvious;

Doubts? I'm full of them, but nothing in my experience can convince me that what you have told me is true, and I do know one thing; it will not affect my judgement at our next encounter.
Jean-Luc Picard

Conquest is easy. Control is not.
James T. Kirk

Without followers, evil cannot spread.
Spock

Posted by: jr at October 19, 2004 01:37 PM

Thanks for the links. I'm still reading through the material, but I wanted to say this: any corporation traded publicly that pulls stunts like this is not going to survive as a public corporation and will face class-action lawsuits for blatant disregard of its fiduciary obligations.

So even if Michael Powell and the FCC are too partisan to address key issues raised here, Wall Street and institutional investors certainly will.

Anybody who owns mutual fund shares should dig up their annual reports. Check and see if Sinclair Broadcasting shares are listed. Then you'll know for sure that you've been screwed over. Also, keep on the lookout for announcements of any class-action suits.

Posted by: Miss Authoritiva at October 19, 2004 07:44 PM

It's hard to make money with explicitly conservative commentary, let alone news, when the rest of the media instantly demonize you and won't let you get away with it.

The problem Sinclair faces it that it operates in an industry of intense partisanship against the GOP, a heavily left-leaning culture, where it is simply assumed that anyone sane and decent is a liberal Democrat. That's why a down-the-middle outfit like Fox stands out so strongly, it's out of place and not in keeping with expectations.

When conservatives complain of the suffocating level of bias on the major nets, when CBS has tried not once but TWICE to try a late-hit kneecapping of the President on old news or complete fabrications, it's ho-hum, business as usual.

But when Sinclair airs conservative-leaning commentaries on its news broadcasts, and one documentary airing facts about Kerry tries desperately to break through the barricades of the media that so eagerly trumpeted Michael Moore, there's hell to pay.

*To email me, remove the canned processed lunchmeat reference.*

Posted by: Leo at October 28, 2004 06:46 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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