« The Weeds

Sinclair’s alarming takeover of local TV news

2018-04-06

Dylan Matthews joins Sarah and Matt to break down the history of Sinclair Broadcast Group, its politics, and the regulatory favors that fueled its growth. References: Dylan's piece on the Sinclair media takeover Timothy Burke's Sinclair anchor mashup Alving Chang's piece on Sinclair media, see if your local news station is owned by Sinclair Martin and McCrain's paper on local news and national politics Good Mother Jones piece on Sinclair's local news takeover

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
That might have been too weak for the weeds hello welcome to another. So did the weed something fox I cast network, I Matthew glaziers. We have Sarah Cliff in where Friday appearance part of our as reclined book leave. we're we're getting by we're. Doing we have to do is shaking things up, we're shingling is better, be a good book. the books never going to be written gray and stop the vocal we read- and we hope, as yours, having a nice Buckley legitimate different book with him years ago, does like this, because I have also joined by Dylan Matthews coming in from New York. He he can tell us about the other book from eight years ago. Some day But today we want to talk about local tv news,
Commissioner, will you may have seen if you, if you are on the internet, this really great video that Timothy Bark debts been put together? and it is showing basically how this one franchise of local television stations is giving script. In this case a script about problems in the media to all of us. Ankara to read their reading. It word for word. I think we can actually play yeah. Just let you listen to a little of it, because it's we re creepy, where
really proud of the Quality balance journalism that serious for news produces, but there is one country plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media more alarming. Some media outlets publish these same fake stories without checking fact. First, the sharing of biased and falls news has come true because on for quite a while, you should check it out. It's it's a croupier frankly, with ever base little faces there and- This is kind of like it showed people six swing weird is going on in their local tv news that I think, is not not until and telling you you weren't about this, I mean what what happened here So basically, there's a company called Sinclair Broadcast group that is based in or the Baltimore suburbs that
for the past two decades or so has grown to be one of, if not the largest owner of tv, affiliates and The process has a conservative bent and uses its influence over local news channels to get conservative programming on their local news programmes. and in this case they would they ve started. Doing, though, is the maid certain segments that feature boys. Staying right as a riot commentator and- it's yours, Epstein, whose use our Trump administration veteran on the term campaign in your of his segments or defending the turbid show like, let's start even further back, because they think, like a lot of us first learned about Sinclair watching this dead spin video. What, through a little bit about like what is Sinclair and they seem to be some abnormal in their strategy of I'm just buying up
however affiliates they can get their hands on verses like a handful of ABC Nbc or whatever ray, I wanna go back even further, since I think we might have some listeners were clerk cord cutters. Who'd, like don't know what tv affiliates are. Your cord you'd kinship can watch on the air telling gather around that year olds. Can you gonna jump energized? What an affiliate is so that technology of television is invented it right. What and in the forest and there's like a problem, which, I guess I think people actually not think about this right, but there's a basic problem on television, which is just if Old person throws up Montana and is like hey I've got a tv station than this returns and tons of interference and nobody is gonna, be able to watch television and it won't work.
So for television to work. There has to be a regulatory and licensing regimes, saying exactly who is allowed to broadcast where and on what frequency As you know, it's a little bit like contrary to the american ethos right. It's like you cannot just start a television station right. It's against the law. As the FCC licences you to start a tv station and they need some concept of how that is going to work. there are regional idea, is you will just get a specific broadcast licence and I'll be like I'm gonna, throw my antenna and can be here in Baltimore me, a beer Baltimore Station Sea have been different stations going round, but that's not an efficient way to do. Television grandma quite a good way to do television programme, is somebody makes a show some place and then, if its popular, it airs everywhere and so you have the idea that there should be networks of television stations
originally NBC and CBS, and so they produce Amanda content than they show it on different stations all around the country. do you being that? No matter where you are, you can find yourself an NBC, So if it wasn't a one big station as it because they wanted to local programming, or is there some other reason yeah, so they decided that the rules should be that a company cannot, too many television stations right. There's a cap on how many television stations you can own so, instead of it being that NBC gets licences all across the country and progress, it shows everywhere and peace. organizes aid network, it's good. This is why they're called tv networks, even though on cable, your cable networks aren't actual networks, but the broadcast now Eggs are networks of affiliated stations, So you will go around in your say. Ok, I need to get a station with a licence in Dallas to be my Dallas affiliate. Then you might need
an affiliate dino in Houston and affiliate in New Orleans at end. You go all around the country like that. All of the big networks have a couple of stations that are called owned and operated ride so work allay most big cities. You have our nose, but in most other mark it's that the stations are affiliates of one network or another, and so close business model would be to go from owning one call tv station that was affiliated with NBC or CBS and then say what by some more NBC affiliates, because I have some expertise in how to put local programming and am also knowledgeable about, like the NBC line up and and who it works, because you your local programming to mesh with the demographics of national audience and so you would have little kind of chains of affiliates of one of the given network
then, over time a b c comes on. It becomes a third television network. Eventually Fox becomes a fourth, ran enter Sinclair, enter Sinclair, so Sinclair they did that was different. They they started is just sort of a normal affiliate that the founder had like a station or two and in Baltimore and his sons decided they wanted to expand it out, and As I was saying, most people building these chains, you only the deal with one an organisation does it's like really stress, fallen and time consuming, inter to work out deals with these national companies and Sinclair's innovation? Was they just want to grow really really fast, and so they started buying up everything. Look at the less they own and a hundred and ninety three stations thereabout by a bunch more as part acquisition deal, but they, when a b c stations, they own ABC stations, they own seat, obvious stations, they only innovation stations there,
like fought like everything you can imagine Sinclair Owns- and this was just like now- how things were dime. It's like one example heard was like you'd like buying up the of garden and then deciding you're also going to sell Wendy's there they It's it's. Your mixing and matching. This programming and initially it was not particularly political all, but they started getting some regulatory scrutiny because one thing they wanted to do as a part of buying these up really fast is by more for once in individual networks and traditionally FCC within any unusual mark in it. A market excuse me so like Your normally were not allowed before Sinclair to say like to New York media markets. Since I have like us, CBS and and NBC both owned by the same owner right.
Because you wanted actual competitors. You you didn't, want us: Roof Potemkin competition between jointly manage stations surfing computer. against each other, which is of a clause I He trusts you. You want vibrant competition in the media space. What The Sinclair boys that the Smith brother's dead, is they their mom to start a company. and she bought up some second stations and a bunch of markets and then hired Sinclair to operate them. So they affect if we controlled multiple networks and in both fulfil in these markets, but did not have ownership because because their minds company was was technically the owner, the have quickly figure out that this is what they were doing and find them bizarrely serve said they could keep doing it, that they had found a legal loophole in and there wasn't anything they could do to stop them. I know some people think that's easy flop that one and could have done more bite it open
door for Sinclair and about Father companies to start doing this on mass and to start we re trying to build up a bigger and bigger conglomerates. Bye, bye multiple networks in individual markets and part of what happened here is that there was at both a text Logical change and a philosophical chain tried, whereas at once cable television starts to be a thing right. I think it starts to seem to people particularly people of a more deregulatory bent that a lot of these licensing rules are obsolete. That you used to say, will you can't own multiple affiliates in Miami, because then there will be no competition But now the whole idea of competition within broadcast television starts to look obsolete to certain kinds of people, and we particularly would you go and the republican side, but but more broadly ride? We used to be this like obvious monopoly problem that needed a heavy handed way. Military solution, starts to look like while we have a technological kind of
look around and the hope question of, like local television station affiliates. I think sort of like feeds from from the public mind as as a thing right that people think about the national networks there big deal and they think about the cable channels and local local, network affiliates. Are Kind of of joke- and we know there's like local tv news right and that's where somebody tells you at the weather, catch up and you're local sport scores, but it's not an important question and in national politics, but same time. This was some data, that of ensuring pull put up on vocs a few days ago. Local news remains in court A shockingly highly watched source of do as I was really really surprised he put together this chart from Pew Research centre that looks at VW of cable versus local news, and this is king, I kind of who was watching each of these sources of news each night and you have about
five million cable news viewers compared to twenty million local news of yours, which just feels like what we spend a lot of time talk. about cable news about the effects of news and the polarization between different cable news channels I was surprised to see in this Pew Data that all of that is being dwarfed and of ways by the amount of people who are watching the local news, which is not something I don't think we eat until this clear video came out in the statement, came out we put nearly as much attention into because I usually local news as Ike, random stories about bears and like just like weird, buildings- and you see it like- on the John Oliver show making fun of some odd thing that they did but that is actually a very big for in Americans, media media diet right out. I think some of that's probably also driven by like deep
who are reporting the news like I'm guessing, neither of the three of us are regular viewers of our local newscasts movie. I think that demographic, that is, writing a lot about national politics, as I think quite different from the demographic that is driving local news viewers up. Yet let's take a break it, and then I want to talk more about that.
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a million years ago I was an intern in Czech tumors office and I was working for his communications director who is not billion politics anymore, but he had the time he was obsessed with local news and end with exact at this point that Sarah was making that, like people who do political com, patients professionally don't watch local news people who cover politics at print outlets. Like don't watch local news. It gets no respect, but history was always for that exact reason. This is the most important place for a politician to people because any body his view- and I think this is right- is it body who is bothering you, tune in to like inside part, x on CNN, has a lot of opinions about politics and, like probably just like, has a firm conviction about abortion or taxes or whatever and is invested, but that local
whose is where you could reach people who don't care about politics, that much and That interested and like watching new shows that are mostly about local crime and sports and whether and stuff like that, and then, if you could get Chuck Schumann, on your local tv news broadcasts talking about an issue that matter to people that way in his view. To sort of, actually change minds, reach people who might or might not vote which people who might vote democratic or a Republican, and it would be incredibly powerful. I think that is something that is troubling right. It's wouldn't makes the idea of inserting conservative political messages deliberately into TV news broadcasts. I think sitting frightening to liberal people. because it's not the same as I could Limbaugh show where conservatives opt in to tune in to the conservative political message and a lot of people you might just be watching
your favorite ABC shows and if you are in the habit of to local news after prime time programming to name you see like who got killed, whether any fires dancing Cute happened with kittens. Am I then there message about politics and that can be very powerful means of communication, so they little scandal. I would love to hear don't I kind of like about legal thoughts, flew back to Sinclair, unlike we saw happening savings I'm quite unusual things with sending things out to their affiliates that you didn't typically see from affiliate owners, so yeah Sinclair? One thing they do. This unusual is that normally affiliate owners don't do their own programming largely because most them don't own enough affiliates, for that makes sense for them Sinclair owns a ton of affiliates and if it did begin to make sense for them to do their own reporting their own, their own ten creation to then send their local affiliates and so
it began taking on our future is more of a network, then than a group of of affiliates, and he says he is in the early thousands that they send a team of. reporters to Iraq to find the Good NEWS that was being hidden by the mainstream media that just wanted to point out the raging civil war over there and they put together a package around John Kerry these war service, and activism, implying that he was responsible for getting somebody. these tortured. Naw they just begin see themselves as a group that could put together this described national content. And they use this technique. Physical must runs, where they'll send segments. Usually like a minute or two. I tell us tv stations in and say that they they must air and either that's a script that every
The local station must say, which is how you got the mashup video that we play at the beginning of the show or its pre recorded segment from from the national office, so Bush obscene prostration veteran, whose their chief political analysts makes a bunch of must runs one thing it is reported that he was doing as many as nine a week. There were must runs that there are sending out there all about a minute long. All of them are universally pro trump before him, there's a guy anymore, primarily who did similar segments for them fur for about sixteen seventeen years ends that gives them a really incredible region has met with saying like if you're watching functionaries. You know you're watching Fox NEWS, I suppose there might be some people in the world were not aware. The Fox news is quite conservative, but, like it's free, it is pretty well known at this point, whereas local? these people, not only art, is We need to know if your station is on by Sinclair and thus or very
This kind of stuff, but The defamation of local newspapers and other sources of local news often locally The affiliates are the only way to get news about. Your area like I move from the sea to two new working, much smaller city last year, and I found myself like reading the website of of local tv stations much more regularly because there are the sort of local news coverage things that I come to expect from the wash imposed principle. Or that kind of thing, and so often the only way to get that kind of information is reading or watching local tv stations, and I think that's true across the country that even if running, a local newspapers and profitable its profitable. To like me, NBC, affiliated airborne Grayson the voice in whatever for this question I have maybe like firm for me at about the economics of local NEWS of television verses
print is one thing that surprise me again that going back and seeing the dominance of local news over Cable feels like the total opposite of what you see in the printer digital. What's that mean, I'm curious like what what you know about structure of these two different parts of media that like. Why Google NEWS doing local tv news doing better than local, even online news. Why mean did part of this? Is that there's a regulatory issue here right so To maintain a broadcast licence is a little vague, but to maintain broadcast license you business is required to serve the public interest. now? What exactly that means like nobody knows, there was some litigation around this question like decades ago. but it has never been fully fleshed out, but there is a convention right You go to any city in America, and you know that the abs
NBC Cbs affiliates are gonna, have local news at six and eleven, and you know that the fox affiliate Can have local news at ten p m right? They all thought. that pattern, there is no law at all in the United States. That says that airing local newscasts at exactly that time is a regulatory requirement for maintaining your broadcast licence. But there is a dilatory requirement that you serve the public interest. one way that the convention away frustrations to say their serving the public interest? Is these Bruton eyes, local news by ass and then one reason that its viable to do. That is that television advertising remains a really really really big deal right. The idea for television, is shrinking a little bit over time but remains the lion's share of ad spending. There's no equivalent of like Google and Facebook way to reach the tv audience of his money and local news. There's a perception that you are required by regulatory nature to produce them
knows, and then is Dylan was saying almost every local tv station runs a news website quickly, not as like a sophisticated digital first and of operation, but as a spin off of their tv station and beat it's tv news, it's not like when newspaper started, publishing online and risk cannibalized themselves. It's really can. I use their journalism buffalo right, but ever since They are covering stuff that doesn't make it on the air they put it on the website and it is a valuable source of local news. Reporting is also an area in which the radio, Forbearance Sinclair has gotten, creates a real issue right because, if you say look, there's gonna be your four or five different local tv stations at an area going to be genuinely independent. That creates three or four or five separate newsrooms that are peering. If you let the merge it could
its incentives to hollow out that kind of reporting, infrastructure and cut back and an Pinochet. on people and significantly the FCC last fall tree the rule. Rule used to be you were allowed to pipe in news content from elsewhere, you had to maintain. primary news production facility in the area that you were broadcasting in and they rescinded that rule last fall. So now it will be possible to You know, have an affiliate in whatever city Cincinnati and just not maintain a local news studio there at all and too have your according to local news broadcasts, be stuff that you? U copied from elsewhere. No one has done. That yet, at least in a significant way, only some very, very small communities that have low population
You could start to see a sort of hollowing away of one of the last sort of remaining bastard local journalism. Sip from you can also see local journalism replaced by Sinclair Propaganda Broadcasts, I think there is another change last year that that I just five new terminal. I've cc under Trump before That also has really serious implications for Sinclair, so there is a rule that the Congo words like Sinclair, are not allowed to own affiliates that reach more than thirty nine percent of the viewing public, and that's a lot like that. Two out of five Americans is pretty healthy. sheriff of the market, to be able to reach they started doing this thing called serve. You HF offsets. There are two ways to do this cast channels and you can use serve you. A tough frequency, Sir VHF
and Missus very high frequency and ultra high. Absolutely- and I know I said you just frequency- and I know that will annoy some people- I don't care the so under the new rule people you reach view HF, which is more limited, range count for half, so you just serve arbitrarily. Take that view HF broadcast affiliates have end and cut their reached by in doing this calculation and if Don't do that that after the latest merger that Sinclair's doing they are going to read, about seventy two percent of American of you in households. That's why we re not allowed under the letter of the rule, but because change the rules, so that you are just like doesn't count to the same degree. It's now. Completely allowed it ain't we and wants the justification for, like you, HF counting as Hell
I think that might know more about this than I do, but I think it's it's slightly more limited range. It used to be the people who had to nurse like not everyone had ones that can get you a tough, but I think that was a problem like the seventies. Ok this is important, because this is serious, I think dirty pool on another pies part right. So, can the day you had you re HF and had you, U H, afraid so, VHF his channels won through thirteen and on a standard tv dial and you HF is, is the higher channels and we each have is technically superior broadcast format. For reasons that I do not know the physics of but like. Basically, if you are trying to reach a lot of people with your tv station, you would want a vhf transmission. but you can only have a few VHF transmitters in a given area precisely because their signal is so powerful unity at each other out and there's all these extra you HF womb, and so
a day you HF was the second rate. Technology right, gear transmissions would not go as far as the rest Option would often be is good because it couldn't penetrate walls as well, or you know, deal with highly terrain and stuff like that. and so oftentimes thee network affiliates would be VHF stations ride. So, like one NBC Abc Cbs. Would VHF and the U Hf stations at an area would often be a little kooky. They would be the ones who would by the independent, Programming. Zena warrior princess that kind of thing off this indication. market? This is weird Algonkin, which movie from nineteen eighty nine grant move. It call you a job, it's funny, but it I mean it's basin, this completely obsolete technological paradigm. The premise of it is that, like operating a? U HF station would be this like real kind of like ratchet absurd business Vienne totally unlike having of Egypt station, but a critic
old regulatory issue is that a cable franchise right That's like your comcast. Your rise in that is doing. Cable television and area has carry all of the local broadcast channels, so This drastically increased the range of you HF. Is it used to be that through be U Hf transmitter somewhere in the vicinity of your house, because you were at the outcome origins of its range and you had thick walls or there were a lot of trees or you are on the wrong side of the hill. You couldn't in practice. into it or they were option would be really bad and some p. if you were like a tv fanatic, you might get a super powerful antenna that lets you tune in, but normal people- you just wooden, watches station like that. But then with cable, the EU, Egypt, channels appear in the homes of everybody who was inside their licensed range
so. My cable provider has to get me out of you HF stations, even if there's like some big trees, exactly what whatever works and they all they all tuning equally. Well, so it's no longer the kind of situation that you might have had where, like Channel five, looks really sharpened nice, but twenty seven looks like garbage now everything looks equally good ride, so Cable television has made possessing a: U Hf license more valuable than it used to be, and what pie is doing is pretending that its nineteen, seventy seven and the like Actually we were overvalued. You hf all this time because we weren't taking account for the fact that the reception is bad. So now we're gonna downgraded by half, but in modern day, the biggest value of having a? U HF licence is it you get automatic carriage, cable networks and so on. Anything? It's like if pies rule had been the old rule we
change it to equalize them as happens. They were equal Long's, it was fine and there is no need to change anything, except instead he changed it? Basically, Nepal to let Sinclair which a bigger broadcast range To be clear, I mean, as with cable television. Nose like just having the network does not mean you are necessarily watching it like I get Directv. Now and basically only watch house hunters by its It's still like in the max and end if we're gonna have a rule limiting the range of people who can get one conglomerates affiliates like it. In forests, rather than like, allowing weird calculations that that change a thirty nine percent limit to seventy two percent limit and then their buying, the Tribune company is TVS so they're gonna get even bigger. Yeah the seventy two percent is the figure once they ve bought the Tribune stations and they have had to sell off some Tribune stations like the Aegean and in Chicago
stay under, even though the serve tweaked, not a severe limit that occupy put in any one thing: I am curious to watch with unity is dead, spin, video coming out and I think a lot of people looking at this for the first time is whether there is some kind of backlash political line. People like I've thought about local news as local news and like whatever it's just. You know the place where you get those kind of stories and that there is not a political bias in the way we think of our cable news networks clear, has not limited their ownership of stations too conservative area, as it's not like there, like. Ok, we're gonna, serve like the middle, still going to serve the solitaire all across the EAST coast, all across the West Coast. I don't know exactly how this would work, but I very curious to see if. There is some kind of like back At the same time, don't you ve written about Sinclair some pretty restrictive, conch accepting Wanna things at came up like, as we saw these anchors reading. These scripts are some of these contracts. Therein, where
It is very difficult for certain Sinclair employees to quit, because they would have to pay back surname salaries. That is not just as easy as walking away from the job, but many of them are under com. After those contracts have some pretty stiff penalties from breaking the contract so that make You know difficult for individual journalists to leave the station and protests, although decreasing the handful of those happen, but I am sure as this gets on the radar of more people who are in didn't invested in politics, you haven't. Been watching local news politics as much if that leads to some kind of pressure for different ownership in you kind of start, seeing the polarization that we see in cable news where you have local news ownership, that's reflecting The polarization we see in voting, the polarization we see between different came on news channels if you end up with a situation where there is now
you're conservative news outlets, injure liberal news outlets, and you see a kind of your ship splitting between those two options that people can do between. Yes, I think one of the most interesting things about sinclair- and this is also true of Fox news- is that the appear to be a prophet maximizing early, say: don't appear to be viewers ship maximizing so when your studying the effects of news networks, there's always is tricky problem of. On the one hand, people are being influenced by the things there watching, but on the other hand, people are choosing to watch things that they probably already agree with and so You can't just say: well: the people watch Fox NEWS of a Republican. Therefore Fox news makes people republican because presumably Applicants are watching for reason in the first place and a lot of previous research under a bunch of seminal papers about this by makin scow and then just Shapiro
found that serve demand side effects of what of what the viewers want are from us. Newspapers and, in some other outlets dominant, that these papers have a good sense of what their readers want in their editors and sort of coverage. Choices tend to reflect the views of their readers and cater to them and Gregory Martin, his political scientists Nicodemus dead at Emory, in conjunction with some co authors and John Mccain, must Finally, our euro cuckoo has been due some interesting research, suggesting that there are there, is that our supply base where it really is that a choices being made by the people who run the news outlet to make the news in a particular way, even if that's not the best way to serve their audience so the first paper he and Eureka glue the roll out of a Fox news and found that, slant
not the one that you. If you model it, you would exe. To maximize the worship, see and ends like state opinions if you do serve text analysis of so the parson, Where's. That use is close to it. the medium of Europe there trying to maximize and access is not, but they did fall. and that if you want, if you were a conservative, anyone to persuade people of conservatism than you have to balance like getting more viewers forces be more strikingly. Conservative city can persuade those yours and their sort of maximizing for persuasion was what they found that in and they were able to go out. I serve local level and try to measure the effects on presidential elections and, unlike really really big faxes, Blake six points, things and some are actually because, because wit, weeds fans, love methodology ride, so the way that the way this this works to be clear? That five years now is like this really big well established, presence and cable, when you start up a cable channel, you I can't get on all the
brain systems should be able to compare areas that are similar but differ and the question of whether or not fox exists there and they calculate like I think this is an important point, because I think they like people who do politics are like a little bit. The sand about this am I refuse acknowledge that these things that people do to try to persuade people actually work, and they find it supports, stand shawl impact on voting behaviour of Fox NEWS entering your market yeah. This would have few few papers in recent years that, like genuinely change my mind, my model of how news work too- was entirely the against Cow Shapiro model of peace. Read the news they want to eat and it doesnt probably have that significant open effect. and the effects eyes they found in that was just massive massive, like John Kerry would have one like if, if Fox news haven't been in the market. Massive ends.
The ends and John Mc Crane and Anna Maria have a newspaper out about Sinclair that uses rough, roughly the same methodology that twenty seventeen Sinclair bought group of new affiliates. The new affiliates I got subjected to those of news controls and ends, content that and clear forces on all their affiliates, and so by studying that rollout and comparing areas before it after Sinclair, buys and and seen it and gradually you can do. The same kind of analysis has. This was in twenty. Seventeen in there haven't been national elections since than they were unable to do the estimate of of how people's voting actually changed but they were able to to measure how the slant of the channels changed. Found they got decisively Conservative that there's this we'd fans love methodology. The way they do this is so there He's ideology scores for people in Congress, based on their voting record, to tell you how liberal are concerned, as they are
and so researchers figured out tat if you take those and then you ve, combined them with all the speeches that members of Congress give you can type like ideologies to specific words and tax patterns and You can use that to analyze other tax didn't see how conservative liberal it we better take. I take a second break and try to delve into what the implications of this
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pulling out of this a little back. Your lover method, knowledge will, we know from Fox is that pudding. Conservative news programming into a market has a meaningful impact on voting behaviour, and I think the right way to think about. That is probably not so much that without Fox, whose Democrats would have one every election as it is without Fox NEWS, because we're begins wouldn't want to lose every election. They would have adopted like more moderate positions, you know that we would have done something to win right, but that are able to stick to the course that they are on and win anyway, with this boost and We see that Sinclair, we dont yet know the effective Sinclair, but that they are taking a similar slant and donors. Damage. What we saw, what fox and then we see that you do lose some viewers ship by doing this right
Yet these affiliates lose viewers once and clarifies that, which I think is one of the most striking fine and that's again, it's a huge tell here right because it's a totally reasonable thing didn't read. If what you care about is persuading people of conservative politics, in taking a totally new troll local new station, injecting conservative propaganda and losing three percent of your audience is like that's a totally reasonable deal, because Ninety seven percent of guardians are still a lot of people, and now there the conservative propaganda. If you like a normal business person, it's it's not. a great deal and the fact they are also getting regulatory favours in order to make this possible strikes me as really really disturbing that, like Fox NEWS, I don't approve of in any way. but it's like an above board business enterprise, while I should say-
part from the massive sexual above board business enterprise. It doesn't seem to have any special favours from the FCC right away, but seem clear, has gone through multiple rounds of getting regulatory forbearance in order to grow, bigger and then becoming not just ideologically conservative, but, like part of the point of these Epstein drop ends this the news monologue, is a specific, like Trump propaganda, You know like they are doing favours for the Trump Administration and in the trump administrations doing favours for them in a really direct way, that. I think he's gotten much relatively little coverage relative like trump tweets, in things about Amazon. But it's like precisely because from his not constantly tweeting. But the FCC really ought to do is changes regulatory process to encourage companies to do protests
propaganda and then get favours and swallow up the others like. That's why Its disturbed you know it's like this. Almost too much attention paid, I think, to like the Trump drama and like not enough attention paid to what they are actually doing and the FCC is actually doing things and has been for a while to help promote the growth of this company here. This goes to like a larger theme of the Trump administration. Is that there's a time you can accomplish through the regulatory states that you know, does not eat I think we focus a lot on Congress and the things that don't move there, but there is a lot. You can do just from the executive branch and and a lot of it happens and is that are not very newsy that are not going to get a lot of coverage there. Today, you know a new version of the Federal Register comes out, and this is a document that has hundreds of pages of law pages long. That lists all the. The regulations that are going into a
that have really. You have significant effects. People's lives. Darrow writes about the ones immigration. I read about the ones that come out on health care in and they matter I mean Dara recently got a leaked copy of, but some draft directive suggesting that Non citizens would lose access to some public services that they have had for. Quite some time, though, be a really big deal for that particular problem. Sharon and that all happens through the Red the Tories state, you know as much as we hear the trumpet musician talk about getting rid of red tape and. cutting down regulations? They also actively use regulatory authority as a tool to me the policy, and I think this isn't and from the Obama administration. They did a tonne regulation and exercised a lot of discretion regulation that was taken to court multiple times. You know arguing that it was to act. in the way that they were regulating, but it's a big power that any presidency has and one that is significant
harder to check in, I presume like most regulatory issues. If you have a problem with that is going to have to Through a legal system, it's going to take a number of years to challenge ads in its a powerful tool, and if that's, what you're saying here, with Sinclair, which you know until they created this script. I think was really flying very under the radar. Like doing all these things, I think if this script hadn't, not you. I would not see us doing a whole weeds episode devoted you, FCC, regulation of local television. I also, I think it's eggs, deserted the banal conservatism of the Trump administration that deserve in this. This, like method, debate over how we should see this administration- and there are some continuity, theorists and break their arrests and the tourists and my friend Brendan my heart is a great political scientist. It at Dartmouth is one of these people say like there was a sharp break between
the Republican Party, is now under the south, no nationalist president, in what they were before, and this is starkly different and we cannot like understand this as the natural conclusion of everything that came before and then serve the newly theorists, which I count myself as they like. No there major currents in american conservative thought and ends in the movement and republican administrations that brought us to this point. Anything Sinclair and agile pies relationship to it are samples of continuity, theory, inaction, I've. I dont think that another republican president would have done particularly differently. I think they're they're generally interested in this kind of deregulation, Sinclair actually was originally a trump supporter. They they as a company in did really heavily in the bank, Carson campaign and twenty fifty in here Baltimore, religion, baltimore that, like close ties, a number of dimensions,
they signed on trumped the same way that most conservatives signed on the trumpet most sort of institutions. Movement and There is just a lot of of low level. Regulatory stuff happened, aim that is The same is it is it ever would have been in a conservative administration. I dont think its distinctive to the kind of of concerns we have about trust specific- and I would also say that you know I don't know exactly how to put this, but that A lot of discussion on this topic right of the break and the continuity focused is a sort of handful of kind of like? Never, intellectual types who who are seen by some as influential thinkers or leaders in this kind of movement in and one thing that the Sinclair issue reminds you of. Is that who has influence.
the wealth of conservative ideas specifically may not be, who you think right if the secular aims of this company had been crystals opinion of Donald Trump. Things might look very deep and but evidently like they, don't trade, Justice, Rupert Murdoch and the Fox NEWS executives, don't share that view, and they, you know, have like I, like George, will entail crystal another commentators who don't share their there, should approach from opinions and that means not just the matter board now, but that, probably when we were thinking about conservative politics five ten fifteen years ago, we should have been paying less attention to the people the articles and possibly appearing on channels more attention to the people who own and operate the channels because its ultimately they decide. What is the content of conservative programme
They are less accessible than should of professional political pundits, but they can just make the pundits go away, and the whole power by which this operates. It seems to me is why can Fox news, sway views and its because a lot of people have a baseline cultural conservative worldview, and so they find the basic tenor of foxes programming congenial But then you can link up to that congeniality specific policy points right, like the dear, that John Kerry is afoot, flop are or the idea that Hillary Clinton perpetrated a massive, illegal email scandal or the idea that Donald Trump corporate tax cuts are going to lead to high. wages like none of those are intrinsic element, of being a sort of older white person who has some concerns about cultural change in America, but by law. Linking up those basic idea.
these points with like specific partisan initiatives, you can align people much much more clearly with the specific political party and and the fact that the people who matter are determined to do that is, is really significant. Think that's the way I got things Dylan for joining us thanks. Sarah for come in on a Friday show is, can be back every other Friday, for the duration can be amazing. Great yeah, thanks to our engineer, Griffin, Tanner producer, Bridget Armstrong, and we will see you on Tuesday.
Transcript generated on 2021-09-12.