He Who Controls the Media

A recent news report indicates Trump’s real plan for the country. It’s not a fantasy to think that he may well be able to carry it out.

The news reported that Sinclair Broadcasting Co. is seeking permission to acquire local TV stations in more than 70% of the nation’s media markets. Sinclair’s owner has a hard right political philosophy, and requires all of its TV and radio stations to carry a “news” broadcast that reports from a paranoid, extremist perspective. Because Sinclair assiduously echos Trump’s own factual and policy preferences, Trump’s majority on the Federal Communications Commission is likely to violate decades of policy by agreeing to Sinclair’s request.

Allowing Sinclair to cover 70% or more of local markets destroys the long-standing FCC policy of preventing one media owner from dominating the nation’s media. Even Fox News lacks that degree of power. And it’s pretty obvious why that long-standing policy exists: He who controls the media controls the voters, which in a democracy means he owns the country.

If you think that’s bad, consider this: The Sinclair action is not isolated. Rather, it seems to be just one element in a much more far-reaching Trump undertaking to control all major news outlets—in practice, to monopolize the news. He already has Fox in his pocket, with the legal power to do the Murdochs grave damage if they challenge him. He has moved to defund the main independent news sources, NPR and PBS, sharply reducing their reach and capability. He labels all the major non-Fox broadcast media, cable news outlets, the national press and their reporters as purveyors of “fake news.” He has moved to cripple their ability to learn what he does by barring them from press briefings, even stopping televised press briefings altogether. And he has launched his own White House news network, and is ramping it up. As one long and obsessively focused on media, Trump has the knowledge, understanding, and desire to emulate Mr. Putin in gaining control of the news. The Sinclair action moves him on the way to doing so. To repeat what I said above, He who controls the media controls the voters, which in a democracy means he owns the country.

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