Sinclair Broadcast Group’s potential acquisition of Tribune Media, a Chicago-based media company, has elicited considerable reaction for ownership of local news stations. With the acquisition of Tribune, Sinclair would come to own two local Denver news stations, KWGN and KDVR, according to the Denver Post.
The reactions revolve around the political leanings of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and its potential growing influence.
“David Smith, the group’s executive chairman, is a conservative ally of Mr. Trump who, critics say, puts his stations in the service of Republican causes,” writes The Economist.
This criticism of Sinclair’s “service of Republican causes” is an area of concern that stems from the production of Sinclair’s in-house content, a rare practice that becomes significant considering Sinclair forces local stations to run them. These “must-run” segments range from the daily “Terrorism Alert Desk” segment to “The Bottom Line with Boris Epshteyn” editorial. Hadas Gold from Politico notes that “Epshteyn reliably parrots the White House’s point of view on most issues.” Epshteyn’s segments are set to increase to nine times a week.
As a national issue, this erodes an independent media. Within Colorado, the pressure is only just starting to grow. Soon, the local faces of KDVR and KWGN could be repeating scripts and running segments criticized repeatedly for having a clear conservative slant and “parroting” the views of the White House.
And the people of Colorado are not liking it.
A recent article by The Denver Post takes a look at some of these reactions, stating that “There’s an undercurrent of anxiety at Denver’s two Tribune-owned TV stations, KDVR and KWGN.” The reporters themselves are worried about must-runs and the integrity of their editorial work.
Past the station employees, Denver citizens are becoming more outspoken about the issue. When KUSA newscaster Kyle Clark tweeted about the potential acquisition, writing “Methinks Denver TV viewers aren’t going to love this #copolitics,” the responses were quick and telling.
Some responses referred to Sinclair’s productions as “nonsense,” “profoundly unethical,” and “propaganda & flat out lies.”
Am I reading that right, the guy behind this is Russian? Hmmmm….. nothing to see here. How do we fight this nonsense?
— Summer Pearl (@pearljami) July 10, 2017
Partisan commentary is not news. The fact that they try to pass it off as such is profoundly unethical…IMO
— Michelle Moehlis (@mishimoehlis) July 11, 2017
Commentaries? They mean propaganda & flat out lies. Boris says Russian meddling didn’t happen. Siding w/ Russia against our own intelligence
— Tracy Pettit (@Tracyann66) July 11, 2017
The few that disagreed with Kyle Clark made sure to refer to “liberals” in their comments, showing the clear political divide involved with this issue.
You meant to say liberal biased so called journalists and his followers will not love this.
— Scott A Jefferson (@gzrgnwild) July 10, 2017