As far as descriptors for our world's creeping dystopia are concerned, the term "Orwellian" is both the most overused and the least understood by people across the political spectrum. But there's no better word that might be used to describe this video put together by Timothy Burke at Deadspin last week of thirty-six Sinclair-owned local media outlets (out of two hundred, mind you) recite the same piece of Central Command propaganda in unison through strained, plastic smiles:
How America's largest local TV owner turned its news anchors into soldiers in Trump's war on the media: https://t.co/iLVtKRQycL pic.twitter.com/dMdSGellH3— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
"The net result of the company’s current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they’d chosen as a life vocation." - Deadspin
No matter who you vote for, no matter what you believe in, we all want to think that we're independent, free thinkers capable of reaching our own, sensible conclusions despite the ever-deepening sea of bullshit that surrounds us. That there aren't powerful forces spending billions to sell you on things - reverse mortgages, dick pills, even bona fide ideological positions - or that if there are, we're impervious to their influence. It's a comforting thought, to believe one's self to be immune to suggestion.
But it's a lie. And videos like this let you see that lie for what it is. These are not national network or cable news reporters; these are your local nightly news people, the ones who talk about the bank robbery that happened the other night across the township, or the new community center that's about to open up between the elementary school and the shopping center. Boring stuff. Stuff where there's no reason not to trust the people telling you about it.
Requiring these same newscasters to inject national propaganda into mundane news programming in order to shape public opinion on a wider level isn't exactly a new low for conservative media, but it is a pretty reckless one. Clearly, it was pretty easy for them to get caught, and while I don't think what they're doing is technically illegal, it's certainly unethical enough that, in a sane and/or just world, they'd have been raked over the coals half a dozen times or more by now.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg as to the insane shit Sinclair Media has pushed on their affiliate networks, much of which is inserted into their programming so as to feel like a part of it. During the the 2016 election, On The Media's Bob Garfield spoke with journalist Felix Gilette about his then-recent profile on Sinclair Media for Bloomberg News, the results of which are the closest thing to "Orwellian" that I've ever heard.
There's only one thing keeping this sort of propagandizing alive, and the people responsible for it out of prison: a select group of powerful conservative politicians and businessmen from the president* on down collectively looking the other way so Sinclair's Ministry Of Truth can work to their advantage.
It's also the only reason what they're doing is continuing to become more and more effective; propaganda takes both time and repetition to take root, and the longer Sinclair Media can prop open the gaping hole they've ripped in the integrity of newsgathering, the bigger and faster become the lies they can shove through it.
Shutting Sinclair down is not on the table, nor will it ever be. They're too big, and they're on the verge of becoming even bigger. It's time for liberals to realize that we're not fighting a war over policies, we're fighting a war over ideas, which is why we keep losing. The only way to fight ideas is with better, stronger ideas, and bigger and louder platforms.
In short, the left needs it's own Ministry Of Truth, as paradoxical as it may seem. It's a dangerous proposition, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And once I get that Soros check in the mail, you bet your britches I'm gonna make it happen. Ain't that right, George?
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