President Trump makes sure that cable news, whether it likes it or not, nabs all sorts of headlines these days, so everyone is familiar with the conservative slant of Fox News. And since no one considers local news coverage outside of their own city, the stories that do go national often involve bloopers or something equally silly. That’s why John Oliver took several minutes on the latest episode of Last Week Tonight to introduce viewers to the hard-right Sinclair Broadcast Group, “which may be the most influential media company that you’ve never heard of.”
Indeed, Sinclair is about to expand their stealthy influence, as it currently owns 173 stations and sits on the brink of expanding that number to 233 through a $4 billion deal with Tribune Media. This corporate consolidation of local news stations across the country would obviously give Sinclair the ability to spread its politics-soaked news coverage in more plentiful supply. Oliver mentions that people trust local news organizations more than national ones, so the potential problem is apparent when (at 2:00 in the above clip) a commentator (and Sinclair executive) begins to lecture “snowflake” viewers about “trigger warnings.”
Oliver clues his viewers into how the snowflake segment is part of a Sinclair-produced commentary series that all of its local stations must air. He notes the highly unusual nature of this tactic, and that’s only the beginning, as the segment continues to feature on-air personalities who slam CNN (sound familiar?) and, at 7:30, full-on attack ads against Democrats begin to appear. Overall, Sinclair will introduce local news viewers to ultra-conservative coverage that lambasts both political correctness and multiculturalism. Their expansion is still pending regulatory approval, but that’s understood to be a formality. In other words, the future of local news may look like Fox News.