In some ways, Sinclair Broadcasting — which owns nearly 200 television stations across the country — may be more pernicious than Fox News, because most of the time its affiliates seem like real stations. They’ll get the hot scoops at county fair corn roasts about people’s favorite way to eat corn — you know, the usual pablum — but then they’ll turn around and blast out highly coordinated pro-Trump propaganda.
And this weekend they really skirted the line of good taste and journalistic ethics.
At least 20 Sinclair stations ran, in the guise of “news,” what amounted to a fundraising ad for Donald Trump’s campaign, which is now selling trademark red “Keep America Great” hats. And God forbid some other vast media conglomerate get the first crack at this very important breaking story.
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At least twenty Sinclair-owned network news broadcasters posted items on their website starting on Thursday hyping a new “Keep America Great” hat for sale on the Trump campaign’s website, according to a review by The Daily Beast. All of the stories appear to have initially linked directly to the campaign’s online store, though that link has since been removed on some of the stories.
Sinclair did not respond to a request for comment. Identical or nearly identical versions of the story ran across numerous Sinclair-owned websites.
“Donald Trump's re-election campaign has rolled out new hats as the President aims for another four-year term in 2020,” read one version of the story, which ran on the website of the Sinclair-owned D.C.-area station WJLA. “Trump's online campaign store has started selling red baseball hats with the slogan 'Keep America Great' in white letters,” it added, with a link to the official Trump campaign store.
Personally, I’d stick my head in a beluga whale’s asshole before I’d ever wear a Trump hat, but there are plenty of Trump fans eager to hide their lobotomy scars and proclaim their perduring love for their Orange Osho. And Sinclair Broadcast Group is enabling their sickness.
And it’s hardly the first time.
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