Posted by Guest on April 04, 2018 in Blog

By Laura Neumayer

Local media holds an important place in every community across the United States--from the local weather to traffic, school closings, sports, scandals and more, at the heart of every town and city is a reliable local news outlet. However, the growing monopoly of media organization Sinclair Broadcast Group has been stirring up concern in the industry, particularly in news rooms and broadcast studios. Local news outlets have not escaped unscathed, but rather are at the center of growing concerns.

AAI has been following the news around Sinclair and its possible merger with Tribune for some time, concerned over the impact of its infamous “Terrorism Alert Desk” on Arab Americans and American Muslims. Sinclair is known for its heavy partisan, far-right slant in reporting, specifically where national security is concerned. The group is now under fire for propagandist reporting. When CNN’s Brian Stelter shed light on station-mandated scripts and Boris Ephsteyn spots, the alarm rang across all spheres of the news industry. Most notably has been the eerie script reporters and newscasters all across the country have been echoing verbatim in a chorus that Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith has labeled “Orwellian.” 

After the broadcast group gained the help of the FCC in its mission to acquire 42 additional stations in the pending Tribune merger, the growing concern is the Sinclair staple: the Terrorism Alert Desk and its prejudiced and polarizing agenda. Another major red flag on Sinclair is that it feeds the anti-other sentiments of the current administration. The outlet has created an art of twisting bigoted, Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim rhetoric and coverage into ostensibly reasonable domestic and global concerns under the guise of national security.

If this merger is allowed to go through, Arab Americans and other communities who care about Constitutional rights and justice will have to work even harder to combat hatred, bigotry and misinformation in their local communities.

Laura Neumayer is a 2018 spring intern at the Arab American Institute.