They say every cloud has a silver lining. Sometimes that lining is not immediately apparent, and it takes a bit of effort to see it. One of the most talked about clouds these days is the tide of ‘fake news’ that’s sweepings its way across social media, brainwashing the masses and molding the national narrative as it passes. It might seem like an irrepressibly gloomy phenomenon at first, one without any redeeming features whatsoever. And while that’s true for the most part, it is nevertheless the case that even this cloud does indeed have a silver lining. You just have to look at things from the right angle to see it.
So what could possibly be the upside of this algorithmic apocalypse?
The fear of old media. Traditional media is quaking in its boots at the onslaught against its monopoly of information—and it is goddamn delicious to see. Me? Oh, no, no thanks, I don’t need dessert. Who needs dessert when you’ve got the desperate hand-wringing and sweaty-browed sermonising of old media? Old media—those original and still by far strongest masters of fake news—are now engaged in a frantic rearguard action against their own history of manipulation and deceit and erosion of public trust. In a futile effort to turn back the hands of time they are now painting themselves as the holy keepers of a sacred truth. The last bulwark against anarchy. ‘Look at all this unreliable information!’ they cry. ‘You can’t trust anything out there anymore! Except us. You can trust us. Remember us? Come home. Lock the door behind you. You’ll be safe here’
Sinclair Broadcast Group is the largest TV station owner in the U.S. According to Wiki it currently owns:
173 stations across the country (233 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in nearly 80 markets, ranging from markets as large as Washington, D.C. to as small as Steubenville, Ohio.
The stations are affiliates of various television networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox as well as numerous specialty channels.
According to The Root:
Unlike television networks, Sinclair controls myriad television stations that are affiliates of Fox, CBS, ABC or NBC. Because of this, when most people watch their local news programs, they have no idea that they are watching news coverage that is shaped by the station’s parent company: the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The company goes as far as writing scripts for anchors, telling them which stories to cover and how to cover them. In fact, the local stations are forced to air right-leaning, ultraconservative segments (including a series of “must run” editorials featuring former Trump official Boris Epshteyn) during their news programming.
Here, watch how the monolith responds to the changing tide that threatens to bury it beneath the sea:
Yes, we are living in dangerous times. Critical thinking seems to be at an ebb, and there are unscrupulous actors out there taking advantage of this. But hearing those who’ve previously had our minds in a vise cry out against the production of newer, more efficient vices seems disingenuous at best, cynical and contemptuous at worst. Oh, you’re upset someone has influenced an election? Remember literally every other election ever? Oh sorry is it bothering you that our foreign policy might be swayed by non-govermental actors? Cast your eye across the destroyed states of the Middle East and recall what you helped prepare the ground for.
Fuck you Sinclair Group and the rest of your ilk. You brought the wolves to our door. You let them close in. Now excuse me while I weep and laugh into my glass as they tear us all limb from limb.