Sinclair Broadcasting And Its History Of Using Local TV To Influence Elections

Below are excerpts from a long, well-researched article, The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire, by Sheelah Kolhatkar in the New Yorker about Sinclair Broadcasting that dates all the way back to the 2004 election and the company’s interference in the Bush v. Kerry presidential campaign, of which Blog for Iowa is intimately familiar.  If you want to know what we were up to in those days as far as Sinclair Broadcasting is concerned, just put “Sinclair” in our search box.

But first, here is a link to a list of all Sinclair Stations in U.S., followed by the list of Iowa stations:

Iowa Sinclair Stations:

  • Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque:
    • KGAN (CBS)
    • KFXA (Fox)
  • Des Moines-Ames:
    • KDSM (Fox)
  • Ottumwa, Iowa/Kirksville, Missouri:
    • KTVO (ABC)
  • Sioux City:
    • KPTH (Fox)
    • KPTH-2 (MyTV)
    • KMEG (CBS)
  • Omaha stations that broadcast into Iowa:
    • KPTM and KXVO

The New Yorker magazine article is well worth your time if you want to know how Sinclair came to be what they are today and how media and lack of information combined, is purposely used to influence election outcomes.  Bolding and italics are BFIA’s.

  • Sinclair is the largest owner of television stations in the United States, with a hundred and ninety-two stations in eighty-nine markets. It reaches thirty-nine per cent of American viewers.
  • The company’s executive chairman, David D. Smith, is a conservative whose views combine a suspicion of government, an aversion to political correctness, and strong libertarian leanings.
  • Seventy-six per cent of Americans say that they still trust their local news stations—more than the percentage professing to trust their family or friends.

Sinclair and swing states

Sinclair  owns more stations in swing states than any other media company. Since Trump began his Presidential campaign, many of Sinclair’s political messages have hewed closely to his talking points. David Smith even met with Trump during the campaign, reportedly telling him, “We are here to deliver your message. Period.”

“…Smith “purposely went in and bought a whole bunch of stations in mid-America—i.e., Trump kinds of towns. Places where they could have a big influence…the bottom line is, they hatched a plan to have an effect on the majority of this country. And, when you look at it, I’m positive the right-wing commentaries, in small markets, had an effect on the election.”

  • In the election, voters in areas with a high concentration of Sinclair stations chose Trump over Hillary Clinton by an average of nineteen points.
  • By the time of the 2016 Presidential primary, Sinclair was in a position to have a significant impact on the election. Its stations were concentrated in crucial states, such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Ohio. In Michigan.

Sinclair provides right wing propaganda to geographical areas without cable

“Twenty million  U.S. households don’t have cable or streaming television, and therefore rely on local stations such as Sinclair’s.  A Republican operative who has worked with David Smith told me, “He has a shtick that he does not deviate from: ‘People watch broadcast television, and there’s a shitload of people in this country who do not have cable.’ And he’s right. Local TV is still where a significant cross-section of the population gets their news, and a lot of what’s going on in cable television is just totally irrelevant.

Why don’t voters know certain things about Trump?

The Michigan stations barely mentioned one of the biggest scandals of the campaign—the emergence of the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump boasted about grabbing women’s genitals. Trump won the state by about ten thousand votes.

Click here to read the entire article at


Check out this video posted on Deadspin, “Sinclair’s Soldiers in Trump’s War on Media” depicting Sinclair station anchors repeating the exact same lines.  However, instead of calling it Trump’s War on Media, it should be called Trump’s War on Truth. Trump loves Fox News and other right wing propaganda style media. What he is trying to disparage is the kind of media that reports facts.  No one can disagree, as displayed in this video, that the fake media are a danger to our democracy but the fact is that it is Sinclair and right wing media that are broadcasting fake news and they are in fact the danger to our democracy.

Good liars know they need to create cover by accusing others of the thing they are doing.

And that is how it’s done.

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1 Response to Sinclair Broadcasting And Its History Of Using Local TV To Influence Elections

  1. Anne Duncan says:

    I’m a little surprised that this blog post did not mention that the Des Moines station KDSM aired a Sinclair propaganda “documentary” about socialism during the evening of Friday 11/16/18. I found out by checking their online schedule, which, surprise surprise, gave no info about the show except the title. Since that show was the first in a series of shows about socialism by the same right-wing Sinclairian, KDSM viewers probably have more of the same to look forward to.
    By coincidence, I am a member of the “shitload” discussed above. I live in rural Iowa without cable or satellite, so only broadcast stations are available in my house. I support and watch IPTV.


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