Corporate control takes away from right to the truth


Art by Andrea Giacomini

Editorial, (The Staff of the Jolly Roger)

“The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media,” an anchor said with a solemn look into the camera. “Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias,” more anchors appeared, they filled the screen, overlapped one another. “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”

Their tone was eerily similar. Their words identical. Coast to coast people woke up to see their local news anchors reading from a script given to them by their owners, Sinclair Media Group.

Propaganda like this undermines the power of real news, and the power of the pure, unbiased truth. We, as a nation, have the right to truth, not reporting that supports a politician, nor news anchors that we thought we could trust saying whatever their owners tell them to say.

Press freedom is a hallmark of our democracy, while scripted news created by owners is dangerous and a threat to it. While it is true that endorsements of political candidates made by the editorial board is common, it is not the owner’s choice.

While we could laugh about how the broadcast neglected to mention how Sinclair promotes its biases on social media, the message echoed how blurred the line has become between real news and news with an agenda.

Local news broadcasts are a trusted source of information and where most people get their news. Sinclair’s actions violate the traditional separation between editorial and owners.

Based in Hunt Valley Maryland, Sinclair is the largest single owner of local news stations across the country. With 193 stations, they hope to buyout Tribune Media, bumping that number to 235.

The deal would be violating FCC regulations. According to the FCC, “They intend to take such actions as are necessary to comply with the Commission’s rules to obtain FCC approval of applications.”

This means that while Sinclair knows they would own too much to comply with federal regulation, they want to charge forward with the deal anyway, saying they will find a way to comply later.

According to Vox, Sinclair reaches 39 percent of Americans. If the deal with Tribune goes through, then they will reach 72 percent.

President Donald Trump has a long history of calling news organizations he doesn’t agree with “fake news.” On April 2 Trump tweeted “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more fake than NBC, which is a total joke.”

While he has never offered evidence proving his claims, Trump continues to promote news that supports his agenda. Sinclair supports his agenda, thus making them “real news.” This brazenly promotes propaganda.

We cannot let the news be controlled by their owners, but rather be free to report the truth. While most shrug off Trump’s cries of “fake news,” it is the acceptance of this as the new norm that truly threatens our democracy.

To see if Sinclair owns your local station, search “Vox Sinclair map”.