T: Hey J, did you see this?
J: That’s interesting, although I doubt it’s going to make much difference. It’s concerning that Sinclair made their stations run that editorial… it does smack of trying to undermine non-Sinclair outlets’ news reporting.
T: You don’t think this has first amendment repercussions? I’m happy they’re getting called out, but at the same time, this is another example of how the first amendment can be curtailed through well meaning yet tyrannical control over the stray abuse.
T: Well, you know what I mean.
J: Not really, but that’s not news.
T: Did you read FiveThirtyEight’s chat about Trump firing some of the various players surrounding the Mueller investigation?
J: I generally agree with their assessments; I think firing Rosenstein would be a little less of a Big Deal™ than they do, but it would definitely have serious ramifications.
T: Did you just trademark Big Deal?
J: Yes. As far as you know™.
T: Did you – never mind.
J: What do you think of Trump firing Rosenstein?
T: I think it would damage Trump’s credibility with the base, without really accomplishing his goals. If I’m Trump, I might just fire Mueller and keep yelling “witch hunt.” Since I’m not Trump, I hope he takes my advice. Because I don’t think it’ll work.
At this point Trump’s relationship with Putin is on shaky ground, no matter what he does. If he cooperates with Putin now, he looks guilty of collusion. If he fights with him, he damages his reputation with the base and enhances the public desire to get to the bottom of the collusion investigation.
J: Trump has painted himself into a corner on Syria; after criticizing Obama for being weak and caving in on his “red line” he can’t very well do the same thing. He’s already screwed up the response by telling the Syrians that the missiles are coming; by now they’ve moved everything they don’t want blown up to safe locations. I think that’s why he’s backed off on the rhetoric; he knows that a raid now wouldn’t have much, if any, effect, and it would just escalate tensions with Putin.
As far as the Sinclair thing, I think the bigger implication is the chilling effect that Sinclair has (or is trying to have) on non-Sinclair outlets. They’re trying to paint themselves as the only reliable source of news. That’s concerning when you have the local reach that they do.
T: Does Sinclair own local papers? I thought they were a national thing. Any local paper that isn’t independently owned is not a local paper, as far as I’m concerned.
J: Sinclair is the largest owner of local TV stations in the country; I don’t think they own newspapers, though they might. Their stations reach something like 72 percent of all homes. So yeah, they definitely have a concerning level of reach.
T: If Sinclair owns a local news station, that’s no longer a local news station. If the FCC wants to make itself useful, stop
The Peanut Gallery