The joke’s on Sinclair Broadcasting. Traditional journalists teamed up with their openly left-wing counterparts this week for an April Fools’ prank – attacking a media outlet that dared discuss “fake news.” The victim of the joke was Sinclair, which runs 193 local television stations across the country.
Sinclair is attempting to pay $3.9 billion to buy Tribune Media, which would further increase its local broadcasting power. The company has been targeted by the left as being “pro-Trump” because it doesn’t lean far left like CNN and MSNBC.
Sinclair’s local news operation has received heavy national news coverage in the past week. The broadcast company sent out a minute-long script for its anchors to read that said, in part, that Sinclair was concerned about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.”
The script added: “We understand Truth is neither politically 'left nor right.' Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.”
Real scary stuff, right? It sure was for the major media that resented the idea journalists might be doing precisely what they are doing – spinning the news. Or misreporting it.
But Sinclair’s unwillingness to toe the line made it a target. The left-wing website Deadspin did a mashup of many versions of the Sinclair video into one, culminating in numerous anchors saying: “This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.”
The video went everywhere from John Oliver’s HBO show to CNN and MSNBC and every lefty or traditional outlet in between. (Deadspin is owned by top Hillary Clinton donor Haim Saban.)
While hardly funny, the coverage was itself a joke. It was reminiscent of the mob scene from “Young Frankenstein,” lacking only the pitchforks and torches – so far.
Since April Fools’ Day, The Washington Post has run 38 separate pieces on the controversy. By comparison, the Post ran just 20 mentioning the huge reboot of “Roseanne.”
The Post had stories headlined: “Sinclair faces fallout from viewers and Democratic candidates over ‘fake news’ promos,” “Sinclair’s remarkable gaslighting operation” and “Sinclair Broadcasting’s mass ‘fake news’ message, as skewered by cartoons.” But, of course, the Post is neutral.
In just a couple days, MSNBC and CNN (left and lefter) spent 211 minutes on the story. That’s enough time to watch “The Godfather” and have some time left over to watch an episode of “Big Bang Theory.” And that analysis ended Tuesday. There has been even more coverage since.
The rest of the media joined in with the mob. Discredited former CBS anchor Dan Rather grabbed a torch. He called the Sinclair video “Orwellian” and said it’s “on a slippery slope towards some of history’s most destructive forces.” Remember, Rather’s career at CBS came crashing to a halt after his own bogus reporting. He now appears on the far-left show “The Young Turks.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called the Sinclair segment, “a propaganda clip.” Co-host and soon-to-be-his-bride Mika Brzezinski was even harsher, claiming it was “pretty frightening” and “chilling.” Apparently, she never watches her own show, but then who would blame her.
CNN’s Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter hyped how a Sinclair producer in Nebraska had resigned over the segments. That left out some key details.
The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson helped correct the record, reporting that the producer “is a proud left-wing activist.” The producer had been part of a protest against Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and another for Black Lives Matter. Media reporting tended to skip those facts.
2. An Easter Parade of Bias: Easter is a major holiday for Christians. For the media, it’s just a predictable day to attack their faith. There were numerous examples of that at play this Easter.
NPR reporter Vanessa Romo couldn’t even describe the holiday accurately. She said Easter was "the day celebrating the idea that Jesus did not die and go to hell or purgatory or anywhere at all, but rather arose into heaven."
NPR had to issue a classic correction, admitting: “Easter – the day Christians celebrate Jesus' Resurrection – is on Sunday." It might be helpful to send Romo a few traditional Christmas cards in early December so she at least gets that holiday correct.
Then there was CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta embarrassing his network once more by shouting out questions to President Trump during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
Stephen Colbert’s lame anti-Trump cartoon also bashed Christians this week. His Showtime program “Our Cartoon President” asked: "How do grown adults still worship Jesus?"
The media also used opinion pieces to criticize Christians on the holy day. In an opinion piece in the New York Times Sunday Review, lefty religion writer Amy Sullivan’s piece headlined “Democrats are Christians Too” showed her anger that Trump still has supporters. Her comment about that support: “Eighty percent of white evangelicals would vote against Jesus Christ himself if he ran as a Democrat.”
NBC did much the same, publishing an op-ed about “how easily and often our faith is used to defend white supremacy.”
3. Conservatives Aren’t Welcome Here: The Atlantic had barely more than a one-night stand with opinion diversity. The left-wing publication dared offend its core readers – liberals and the “neutral” journalists who love them – by hiring National Review writer Kevin Williamson.
Williamson was signed just two weeks ago by the publication and the pushback was instantaneous. Paste magazine said the hiring was “their worst idea since they advertised for Scientology.” The New Republic called it “the mainstreaming of the reactionary right.” Slate asked simply: “Why Would the Atlantic Hire Kevin Williamson?” Yes, why would a publication actually dare have competing viewpoints?
Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg’s strength of character lasted just long enough for him to turn tail and run after sacrificing Williamson on the altar of liberal demands. The hire had barely been announced before Goldberg was already apologizing in a memo, saying how he believed in giving “people second chances and the opportunity to change.” Sometimes that works. Hiring conservatives and expecting them to change is how Joe Scarborough got his job at MSNBC.
Williamson was abandoned because he is pro-life. Here’s the New York Times’ description of the controversy: “It was Mr. Williamson’s hard-line stance on abortion – namely, that it should be treated as premeditated homicide and punished accordingly, perhaps by hanging – that generated the initial controversy over his hiring.” One dare not offend the abortion lobby.
National Review gave a great defense of Williamson before the firing. It pointed out that, “The Atlantic’s currently most celebrated and influential writer is National Book Award winner and MacArthur genius grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates.”
Coates has said many controversial things including giving this description of the police officers and firefighters who died on 9/11: “They were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could – with no justification – shatter my body.” That’s acceptable, but being pro-life isn’t.
The Washington Post did a roundup of conservative anger over the firing. The headline says it all: “‘Ghettoized’: Conservative media cries foul after Atlantic fires antiabortion writer Kevin Williamson.” Note, the Post won’t even allow Williamson to be considered pro-life after losing his job for it.
That headline referenced an excellent comment from conservative Erick Erickson: “Kevin Williamson's firing is another reminder that much of American conservatism finds itself ghettoized not by choice, but by the left's active demands that the right be silenced. Socialists, national or otherwise, don't like to compete for ideas when they can shut up others.”