Monday, April 02, 2018

We Know Where Fake News Comes From In Russia-- But What About In Trump's America


When Chris Hayes uses the phrase “Trump TV,” don’t you just assume he’s talking about Fox? I always do. But… what the hell is up with Sinclair News-- and why hasn’t anyone even heard of, as John Oliver reminds us, “the most influential media company that you’ve never heard of.” Did you know for example that Sinclair, the biggest broadcaster in America, forces more than 170 local television station anchors to read the same commentary? But when Señor Trumpanzee tweeted Monday morning that it was, at least for him, “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke,” it doesn’t recognize Sinclair-- the real Trump TV-- as a fount of fake news.

The new poll from Monmouth doesn’t single Sinclair out but found that “Large majorities of the American public believe that traditional media outlets engage in reporting fake news and that outside sources are actively trying to plant fake stories in the mainstream media. When it comes to the meaning of ‘fake news,’ a majority believe that it involves editorial decisions as well as inaccurate reporting. The public feels that social media platforms are partly to blame for the spread of fake news and are not doing enough to stop it. The poll also finds that Pres. Trump continues to be less trusted than the major cable news outlets as an information source.
The news about “fake news” is not good, according to the Monmouth University Poll. Large majorities of the American public believe that traditional media outlets engage in reporting fake news and that outside sources are actively trying to plant fake stories in the mainstream media. When it comes to the meaning of “fake news,” a majority believe that it involves editorial decisions as well as inaccurate reporting. The public feels that social media platforms are partly to blame for the spread of fake news and are not doing enough to stop it. The poll also finds that Pres. Trump continues to be less trusted than the major cable news outlets as an information source.

More than 3-in-4 Americans believe that traditional major TV and newspaper media outlets report “fake news,” including 31% who believe this happens regularly and 46% who say it happens occasionally. The 77% who believe fake news reporting happens at least occasionally has increased significantly from 63% of the public who felt that way last year.

Just 25% say the term “fake news” applies only to stories where the facts are wrong. Most Americans (65%), on the other hand, say that “fake news” also applies to how news outlets make editorial decisions about what they choose to report.

“These findings are troubling, no matter how you define ‘fake news.’ Confidence in an independent fourth estate is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Ours appears to be headed for the intensive care unit,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The belief that major media outlets disseminate fake news at least occasionally has increased among every partisan group over the past year, including Republicans (89% up from 79% in 2017), independents (82% up from 66%), and Democrats (61% up from 43%). In addition to the fact that a clear majority of Democrats now believe that traditional media outlets report fake news at least occasionally, the poll also finds that a majority of Republicans (53%) feel this happens on a regular basis (up from 37% in 2017).

A plurality of the public (42%) say that traditional news media sources report fake news on purpose in order to push an agenda. Fewer Americans (26%) believe that major media sources tend to report these stories only by accident or due to poor fact checking. Another 7% feel both reasons are equally prevalent. The remainder are either not sure or do not feel that fake news is reported by traditional media outlets. The number who believe this type of false reporting is done on purpose has not changed much from a year ago when it stood at 39%. The number who say it is done accidentally has increased from 17% a year ago as more people feel that the traditional media engages in reporting fake news stories.

Fully 83% of Americans believe that outside groups or agents are actively trying to plant fake stories in the mainstream media. Two-thirds (66%) say this is a serious problem-- including 74% of Republicans, 68% of independents, and 59% of Democrats.

“According to the public, fake news is the result of both outside agents trying to plant fabricated stories and the editorial processes of mainstream media outlets that disseminate false narratives. The perception of this problem couldn’t be more pervasive,” said Murray.

Attention has also focused on the role of social media platforms in the propagation of fake news. Nearly 9-in-10 Americans (87%) believe that outside groups are trying to plant fake news stories on social media sites like Facebook and YouTube. More than two-thirds (71%) say this is a serious problem-- including 81% of Republicans, 69% of independents, and 67% of Democrats.

Most Americans (60%) say that social media sites are partly responsible for the spread of fake news but that other media sources are more responsible. This compares to 29% who say that social media sites are mostly responsible for the spread of fake news. Just 6% say they are not at all responsible. There is bipartisan agreement on this opinion.

Even though social media may not be the principal culprit in spreading fake news, fully 69% of Americans say that these sites are not doing enough to stop the spread of fake news on their platforms.  Just 20% say they are doing enough.

“The way the public sees it, social media is just one cog that keeps the fake news wheel turning,” said Murray.

The poll also finds that a large majority of the public (86%) believe that online news websites also report fake news, which is up slightly from 80% in March 2017. However, the number who believe that online news sources regularly report “fake news” has increased from 41% a year ago to a majority of 52% today.

The Monmouth University Poll also finds that Pres. Trump is trusted less as source of information than three cable news outlets-- except if you ask Republicans. Nearly half the American public (48%) trusts CNN more than Trump, compared with one-third (35%) who trust Trump more than CNN and another 13% who trust both equally as a source of information. The results are similar when Trump is pitted against the left-leaning MSNBC-- 45% trust MSNBC more, 32% trust Trump more, and 16% trust both equally. The right-leaning Fox News also bests the president as a trusted information source-- 30% trust Fox more and 20% trust Trump more, although a plurality of 37% trust both equally.

The results for the president versus MSNBC have not changed much in the past year (47% trusted MSNBC more, 33% trusted Trump more, 15% trusted both equally in March 2017). The pendulum has swung slightly but not substantially away from Fox News and toward Trump in that matchup (37% trusted Fox News more, 17% trusted Trump more, 36% trusted both equally in March 2017). CNN was not included in the 2017 poll.

It should come as no surprise that many more Republicans trust the president as an information source than either CNN (12% versus 75% for Trump) or MSNBC (11% versus 72% for Trump). But Republicans are also somewhat more likely to trust Trump (35%) over Fox News (21%), with 40% trusting both GOP-aligned sources equally. In 2017, 29% of Republicans trusted Trump more, 26% trusted Fox more, and 44% trusted both equally, marking a slight gain for the president in the current poll.

“One bright lining in the whole fake news debate is that major cable news operations are still more trusted than a single officeholder. Unless you are a Republican, in which case Trump’s Twitter feed may be your go-to news source,” said Murray.
Monday’s NY Times was on the Sinclair case as well: “Although it is the country’s largest broadcaster, Sinclair is not a household name and viewers may be unaware of who owns their local news station. Critics have accused the company of using its stations to advance a mostly right-leaning agenda… Sinclair regularly sends video segments to the stations it owns. These are referred to as “must-runs,” and they can include content like terrorism news updates, commentators speaking in support of President Trump or speeches from company executives.”
Sinclair has been accused of using connections in the Trump administration to ease regulations on media consolidation. In an effort to expand its reach, the company is seeking approval from the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission for a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media.
Right-wing pervert David Smith is responsible for immense amounts if fake news in America

After the current sales go through, Sinclair will own or operate 233 TV stations in over 100 markets (covering 40% of American households), many of which are located in the South and Midwest. The majority ownership is by the 4 crackpot right-wing sons of company founder Julian Sinclair Smith. David Smith, who got his start selling porn videos in Baltimore’s relight district and has been arrested on perversion charges several times, is the Executive Chairman of the company. The NY Times referred to him as “a visionary” in their 1998 profile of him. Wikipedia:
Sinclair's stations have been known for featuring news content and programming that promote conservative political positions, and have been involved in various controversies surrounding politically-motivated programming decisions, such as news coverage and specials during the lead-ups to elections that were in support of the Republican Party. The Washington Post noted that WJLA-TV's news content began to exhibit a conservative slant following Sinclair's acquisition of the station, while the company also produces pieces from a Washington bureau that similarly exhibit a conservative viewpoint.

In 2004, Sinclair's political slant was scrutinized by critics when it was publicized that nearly all of Sinclair's recent campaign contributions were to the Republican Party. In particular, the Center for Public Integrity showed concern that the Republican slant of Sinclair's news programming, along with Mark Hyman's past history of government lobbying (such as for the FCC to loosen rules regarding concentration of media ownership-- a factor that has assisted in the company's growth), made its stations provide "anything but fair and balanced news programming." Hyman disputed these allegations by stating that its newscasts were "pretty balanced" and that "the reason why some on the left have characterized us as conservative is that we run stories that others in the media spike."

In April 2017, Sinclair announced it had hired Boris Epshteyn, who was briefly the White House assistant communications director for surrogate operations for the Trump administration, and a senior advisor of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, as chief political analyst. All Sinclair stations are required to air Mr. Ephsteyn's commentary nine times per week.
A couple dozen of the markets where Sinclair has been able to brainwash viewers into voting for Republicans by passing off GOP propaganda as “news” include:
Birmingham, AL- WTTO, WABM, WDBB
Little Riock, AR- KATV
Bakersfield, CA- KBAK (CBS), KBFX (Fox)
Chico/Redding, CA- KRCR (ABC), KXVU, KCVU (Fox)
Eureka/Arcata, CA- KAEF (ABC), KBVU (Fox), KEUV (Univision)
Fresno/Visalia, CA- KMPH (Fox), KFRE
Quad Cities, IA- KGAN (CBS), KFXA (Fox)
Des Moines, IA- KDSM (Fox)
Sioux City, IA- KPTH (Fox), KMEG (CBS)
Champaign/Springfield, IL- WICS & WICD (ABC), WRSP & WCCU (Fox), WBUI
Peoria, IL- WHOI, WYZZ (Fox)
Wichita, KS- KSAS, KAAS and KOCW (Fox), KMTW
Portland, ME- WGME (CBS), WPFO (Fox)
Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids, MI- WWMT (CBS)
Upper Peninsula, MI- WPBN and WTOM (NBC), WGTU and WGTQ (ABC)
St. Louis. MO- KDNL (ABC)
Omaha, NE- KPTM (Fox), KXVO
Las Vegas, NV- KSNV (NBC), KVCW
Reno, NV- NRNV (NBC), KRXI (Fox), KAME
Buffalo, NY- WUTV (Fox), WYNO
Syracuse, NY- WSTM (NBC), WTVH (CBS), WSTQ
Cincinnati, OH- WKRC (CBS), WSTR
Oklahoma City- KOKH (Fox), KOCB
And that list doesn’t include dozens of stations in Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Mexico, West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Montana and Oregon.

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At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a Sinclair station, ABC affiliate, locally. I don't watch it. I recognized the fascist, pro war, pro gun, anti women horse shit that they "must run". I thank John Oliver for shining a light on it, though I was previously aware. I cannot remember who/what clued me in years ago. But I was sick of their editorial minutes by the Nazi Goebbels wannabe that Oliver showed.

Find out if you have a Sinclair horse sphincter in your market and stop watching.

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who decries the media for not taking stands against the excesses corrupt government and/or corporations clearly is either in the pocket of such entities and working to distract attention away from such activities, or hasn't been paying attention since publications like The Seed were driven out of business by pressure applied to advertisers. The media is not your friend. The media is OWNED BY YOUR ENEMIES! They are not to be trusted.


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