Friday, September 13, 2019

Pro-Trump Right-wing Sinclair plots national expansion. (AXIOS, New York Magazine)

Disappointed in Fox, Trump says he wants another right-wing propaganda network.

It's called Sinclair. It's starting a network called STIRR.

Sinclair owns stations in Florida, including Pensacola, Gainesville, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee.

List of stations own ed by Sinclair here.

From Axios:

Sinclair plots national expansion

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Sinclair Broadcast Group, the massive local conservative broadcaster that's been criticized for pushing Pro-Trump talking points, has been hiring a slew of ex-mainstream news anchors as it pushes into national news coverage. It's also reportedly in the running to buy up a handful of Fox's regional sports networks.
Why it matters: Sinclair's hiring spree suggests that it's looking to position itself as a national news competitor to Fox News ahead of the 2020 election, and as an overall competitor to big broadcasters with its foray into sports coverage. 
Flashback: This wasn't always the plan. The company's efforts to push into national news and regional sports comes after an embarrassing defeat in its attempt to expand its local news empire. 
  • Tribune broke off a major deal with Sinclair after the company was accused of lying to the FCC about deal terms and being less than transparent with Tribune's Board. 
  • Sinclair's failed bid meant that it couldn't acquire Tribune's national cable network, WGN.
Yes, but: Sinclair is not going to let its failed merger with Tribune hold it back from expanding into a national news and sports powerhouse. 
Sinclair's latest push into national news includes hiring several big-name newscasters, presumably to populate its local news channels with syndicated program, as well as to provide content for its new ad-free streaming network, STIRR
  • Lara Logan: Sinclair has hired former CBS News anchor Lara Logan for a three-month job as a special correspondent focusing on the U.S.-Mexico border, per The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Eric Bolling: The network earlier this month hired former Fox News anchor Eric Bolling from CRTV for a one-hour show called “America This Week," per The Washington Post. Bolling left Fox in 2018 over a sexual misconduct controversy. 
  • James Rosen: The company hired veteran Fox News journalist in January as an investigative reporter, after he was ousted from Fox News abruptly last year. 
  • Sebastian Gorka: Sinclair hired former Fox News contributor last year. Gorka said he officially exited Fox as a contributor last month, in part because of his role with Sinclair. 
On the sports side, Sinclair has emerged as the front-runner to buy a package of regional sports networks being sold by Walt Disney Company following a bid of around $10 billion, per Fox Business Network. The deal, if approved, would give Sinclair access to live sports telecasts. 
The big picture: Sinclair's STIRR will boost its efforts to expand beyond local news. That streaming service will add sports, entertainment and lifestyle content, giving Sinclair an opportunity to tap into the budgets of national advertisers. 
Be smart: Regulatory analysts, while bearish on Sinclair's efforts to expand into local news, are much more optimistic that the DOJ will approve the regional sports networks transaction. (Sinclair wouldn't need FCC approval, as these are cable stations.)
“I think this deal should be OK with regulators. Sinclair is a hot button company but they’re not expanding their news operations, which is what really fired up Democrats in the Tribune deal.”
— Paul Gallant, an analyst with Cowen Washington Research Group
-----------From New York Magazine:

Pro-Trump Sinclair Media Poised for National Expansion by 2020

There’s nothing to fear but the Terrorism Alert Desk itself. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube
Sinclair Broadcasting Group is the largest owner of local television news stations in the United States. It currently airs original programming on 193 channels throughout the country, enough to reach 39 percent of all American homes.
The company is also owned by a longtime Republican donor, and proudly operates as a platform for conservative propaganda. Sinclair formally promised to provide favorable coverage to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign(in exchange for access to the GOP nominee). Since the mogul’s election, the media giant has ordered all of its affiliates to air commentary that advances White House talking pointsand coerced their own anchors into personally reporting that the mainstream news media is biased against the president.
Given the warm relations between Sinclair and the Trump administration, many observers expected the FCC to rubber-stamp the broadcaster’s proposed purchase of Tribune media last year — a merger that would have enabled Sinclair to broadcast local news to 72 percent of American households. But then Sinclair tried to subvert the lenient ownership rules that the administration had set for it, and, in a rare outburst scrupulous governance, FCC chair Ajit Pai flagged the issue, and the deal ended up falling through.
But Sinclair never gave up on its dreams of expansion. Earlier this year, it launched an ad-free streaming channel called STIRR that aims to deliver local TV news and other entertainment to cord-cutters coast to coast. The broadcaster proceeded to stock up on the best damaged-goods conservatives cable news had to offer — hiring former Fox News anchors Eric Bolling and James Rosen (both of whom left Fox amid allegations of sexual harassment), along with Sebastian Gorka and former CBS News anchor Lara Logan. These heavyweights will ostensibly produce conservative agit-prop for syndication on Sinclair’s local news channels and STIRR. Meanwhile, Sinclair also bought itself a piece of YES, the New York Yankees broadcast network, and is currently the top bidder for a package of regional sports networks that the Walt Disney Company is auctioning off.
It is unclear whether Sinclair will force regional baseball announcers to deliver “terrorism alerts”  between batters. But even if the broadcaster leaves its sports stations well enough alone, those stations should still provide Sinclair with a healthy source of revenue for funding its propaganda operations; Wall Street analysts are bullish on SBG’s stock.
And that’s probably bad news for Democrats. It is hard to overstate how much the conservative movement has benefited from its associated billionaires’ investments in mass media. A 2017 study from researchers at Emory and Stanford estimated that Fox News increased the Republican Party’s share of the two-party vote in 2004 and 2008 by 3.59 and 6.34 percentage points respectively. Just this month, a study using the same methodology found that counties where Fox News has a low channel number (and thus, slightly higher viewership) tend to have more conservative fiscal policies as a result.
If liberal billionaires like Tom Steyer want to get more bang for their political bucks, they should consider taking a note from Rupert Murdoch and friends: Buying up media outlets and then sprinkling ideological propaganda into their regular programming is an effective way to influence political outcomes while turning a profit!
If the left had a better class of ideological billionaires,  “Here’s How Republicans Are Trying to Poison Your Children to Please Their Corporate Overlords This Week” segments would already be a staple of local TV news.

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