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HBO’s Oliver Blasts Providence’s WJAR-10’s Parent Company for Conservative Bias

Wednesday, July 05, 2017



John Oliver, HBO

HBO’s John Oliver show this week focused on “right wing bias” of Sinclair Broadcasting — the nation’s largest owner of local television stations and Providence’s WJAR-10’s parent company.

“Oliver on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" on Sunday said that Sinclair's right-wing bias rivaled that of Fox News and Breitbart and expressed caution over the planned merger, saying would it inject conservative views into local news broadcasts,” writes Ali Berland at The Hill. 

“I did not know it was possible to dip below the journalistic standards of Breitbart,” said Oliver. “That’s like being too bad a chef to work at a carnival food cart.”

Sinclair is awaiting federal regulatory approval to purchase Tribune, which owns 42 stations, for nearly $4 billion.


In May, GoLocal reported:

The New York Times published an article on Sunday that outlined how the parent company of Providence’s WJAR-10 is requiring its stations to air pre-packaged daily news segments that are right-wing leaning.

Now, Sinclair Broadcasting - who owns WJAR - is in the midst of purchasing Tribune's 42 television stations for $3.9 billion.

Vox calls the deal a mega-move for conservative media. “Sinclair Broadcast Group — a conservative, Trump-friendly television empire — is poised to become one of the most powerful players in the mainstream media. The relatively unknown company, whose stations have mixed conservative commentary with local news, is now on the verge of a deal that would allow it to reach nearly three-quarters of American households. 

Close tied between the Trump White House and Sinclair

Latest for WJAR

This is not the first case of WJAR’s parent company being linked to GOP political causes.

In December, Politico reported that Sinclair Broadcasting made a deal with the Trump campaign for better access - which isn't even the first time that WJAR's parent company has been tied to pushing a conservative agenda.

“Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks,” reported Politico, of remarks made by Trump's son-in-law, who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka. 

Locally, WJAR 10’s General Manager Vic Vetter said he had no comment on the New York Times story.

President Donald Trump

The Sinclair family is known for being politically conservative and in 2004 the company sparked a national firestorm for pushing an anti-John Kerry documentary and initially directed their stations across the country to run the 'anti-Kerry veterans group Swift Boat Veterans documentary,' according to a Sinclair journalist in the news department who said they were instructed to treat a partisan documentary as a news item.

“Jon Leiberman, the Sinclair reporter fired for publicly criticizing the company's handling of the documentary, said Sinclair executives told its news staff Sunday that they planned to run a 'significant chunk' of the film, 'but they refused to put a time on it.' He said he objected when the company told reporters to develop news stories around the film,” according to a 2004 CNN news report.

“Since November 2015, Sinclair has ordered its stations to run a daily segment from a 'Terrorism Alert Desk' with updates on terrorism-related news around the world. During the election campaign last year, it sent out a package that suggested in part that voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was historically pro-slavery,” wrote the the New York Times.


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