Omar A. Obreggon Cuebas
Sinclair Broadcast Group is in hot water for mandating news anchors across its stations to repeat a tirade against “fake news.”
A video released by Deadspin showcased hundreds of different stations repeating lines such as: “Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias,” and “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
It seems that Sinclair is attempting to save our democracy by sharing one of Trump’s favorite campaign slogans of “fake news.” They obviously wanted to warn the mass amounts of people watching their channels the dangers of “fake news.” It is either massively ironic or incredibly dishonest that the Sinclair Broadcast Group is attempting to protect American democracy from “media that pushes its own personal bias.” The company seems to be more guilty of serving its own right-wing views.
The Deadspin video is only the tip of the iceberg with the broadcast company. The video’s indictment against Sinclair is creating pushback across the country against the right-wing media machine that Sinclair has built. However, I believe that Sinclair poses a danger to mass media in that it is such a strong right-wing company and may have those interests at the forefront of its agenda.
To believe that all other media groups are impartial and deliver the news free of bias would be just as dishonest as Sinclair was with their script. I believe that the Sinclair group is spreading propaganda for Trump. I want to define propaganda, however, with two definitions from dictionary.com:
The first is “the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.” and the second one is “the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.”
Although I am not privy to the constant allegations of “fake news,” I am of the view that media groups do try to influence the public to take the political and social views which they favor. This is done by choosing what to report, how to report it and who is responsible for reporting it. By spinning the narrative, it can be easy to influence viewers who trust the news they are being given.
An example of the influence of media can be found on Trump’s extended screen time in the 2016 presidential election. Major media outlets over-reported him, giving Trump thousands of free hours to broadcast his message.
Whether the outlet was right or left oriented, this coverage still benefited him. The impact of the media is obvious, but often the leanings of that media are not quite so transparent. No matter what agenda they are pushing, it seems that every outlet of news is pushing some agenda.
I am hard-pressed to be sympathetic to the backlash against the Sinclair media group as it is backlashing for the wrong reasons. If other media groups want to paint themselves against Sinclair as if they themselves are not propaganda machines, then I want no part of it.
Media groups should aim to be more honest in their roles of spreading biased information. Though many of these outlets are not spreading “fake news,” they can be accused of using bias to influence the viewer, in a similar fashion to what Sinclair has been doing to influence viewers to accept its alt-right beliefs.
It is the onus of big media groups to be transparent and truthful with the American public. Likewise, it is the political responsibility of the American public to hold the media to a standard of transparency, which we do not seem to be appealing to at this current juncture.
Media groups should be transparent about their biases. This scandal is telling of not only the Sinclair media group but of the media in the United States as a whole. The reactions from rival media groups suggests that they believe they have not committed the same transgressions when the content they’ve been reporting says otherwise. Rather than pointing fingers, perhaps it is time for media transparency from all news sources.