Ensnared By Sinclair


I might be biting the hand that feeds me a bit with this cartoon.

Sinclair Broadcast Group made news a few months ago over the way it requires their stations to run opinion pieces in support of Donald Trump. Now, they’re under criticism for forcing their anchors to read scripted material.

Deadspin published a video which has gone viral that shows a collection of anchors across the nation reading the same script, like a bunch of pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or as one commentator put it, like hostages reading ransom demands.

Most people aren’t aware who owns their local TV stations. They know the faces and think of the anchors as locals reporting on issues in their community along with sports and the weather. Why, those anchors fight the same traffic we do. They’re just like us.

What most don’t realize is that their station is most likely owned by a corporate overlord that owns many other stations. The owners based in Baltimore, like Sinclair, don’t give a rat’s patootie about what’s going down in Madison, Wisconsin, except for the dollars they get out of that location.

Sinclair, which is very close to the Trump administration and orders their stations to run conservative commentaries by a goon who worked in the administration, sent a script for their anchors to read about media bias.

Donald Trump, who’s an avid fan of InfoWars, The National Enquirer, and sets his daily agenda on whatever lunacy is being upchucked by Fox and Friends, tweeted his support of Sinclair and their biased programming. I bet Trump couldn’t tell you what stations are owned by Sinclair. They own a lot of stations.

Sinclair owns 173 stations and they’re about to purchase 42 more. The majority of Americans who view local news will be watching it on a Sinclair-owned station.

It’s not just difficult to find a TV station that is in touch with its community. It’s becoming even rarer to find newspapers that are locally owned.

I search for new clients for my syndication every day. I am often told by editors that they’re not allowed to choose their content, and all decisions on syndication come from corporate. The newspaper overlords don’t care about content, and newspapers are decreasing in size and in local coverage.

Even liberal Warren Buffet’s newspaper company is gutting the newspapers they own. There is little interest from corporate newspaper chains, liberal or conservative, that cares about creating original features.

I know of a few cartoonists who are defending Sinclair, and the way they operate. The irony they don’t get is that they work for a newspaper chain and their jobs are in danger of being eliminated. I know of at least three, two who are very conservative, who are in trouble. But, hey. Keep defending the faceless machine.

It broke my heart to see my former employer, The Free Lance-Star, sold in bankruptcy liquidation after over 100 years of being family-owned. Shortly after that sale, the assets were sold piecemeal and the newspaper was sold again. In the span of a year, the paper went through three owners. Today, it’s a shell of its former self. I have very few friends and colleagues still there as most were either laid off, like myself, or escaped for greener pastures. Most are no longer in the newspaper business.

A lot of readers don’t even notice. Fredericksburg Today, a local news site, runs my cartoons and I’ve seen readers comment there that they’ll never read the newspaper again for running my work, despite the fact Fredericksburg Today doesn’t have anything to do with the newspaper. I don’t even work at FLS anymore and I’m still losing subscriptions for them.

Excellent journalism is still being done today. There are still great reporters at local stations and newspapers. The problem is the owners of the outlets care very little about quality.

Kathleen Parker once wrote that newspapers should hire interesting people and leave them alone. I’ve always liked that philosophy, but it’s rare to see it in practice. In an ideal world, the corporations would leave their outlets alone and let the local people make the decisions on how best to serve their communities.

A threat to journalism and information is a threat to freedom. Before long, the anchors won’t be the only ones sounding like hostages.

Here’s the video.


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Trump TV


When I was growing up I felt very fortunate not to live in a nation like the Soviet Union, North Korea, Iran, China, Cuba, etc., where the only news you received was sanctioned by the government. But, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un can only have wet dreams of achieving the type of propaganda Trump has acquired.

In the United States, we have freedom of the press which is something conservatives really don’t like. Even with that freedom, we have news outlets that promote what their favorite candidate dishes out. They choose to be compliant. Those who do not cooperate get labeled as “fake news” by the Trump administration and their many sycophants, even though “fake news” doesn’t exist. If it’s fake, it’s not news. Dick heads.

Every cable news network has Trump sycophants on their programs to promote the president’s agenda, and obfuscate, deflect, distract, and lie. Kayleigh McEnany WAS one of these people pimping out the troglodyte agenda. She’s not anymore.

Even though Donald Trump has Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting (more on them in a minute), his own lying Twitter feed, and every small town daily and weekly newspaper afraid to criticize him (trust me on that), he has created “Trump TV.” These are videos presented as news with bullshit read by Kayleigh McEnany. McEnany is one of those individuals who can’t find fault with Trump. She can accuse Obama of playing too much golf while telling us how Trump’s golfing is making America great again. She will tell you how Trump’s pussy grabbing is great for the jobs report, the coal mining jobs have already returned, Mexico paid for the wall, and that everyone now wants to eat steaks with ketchup.

McEnany should not be a lightweight in the brains department. She’s highly educated. But, I guess law schools can’t teach critical thinking. She appeared on Trump TV the day after she announced her resignation from CNN ending her broadcast with, “And this has been the real news.” Kayleigh, if you have to say it’s “real news,” it’s not news. Also, if the president is paying you to say it, it’s not news. When you’re on the RNC payroll, it’s not news. If you’re reading from talking points, it’s not news. If you’re reporting from Trump Tower, for the LOVE OF GOD IT’S NOT FUCKING NEWS!!!

This brings a couple of questions to my mind. Trump’s businesses are separated from the Trump administration, supposedly. Yet, Kayleigh is delivering her reports from Trump Tower. Trump Tower is part of the Trump Organization. It’s the freaking HQ of the Trump company. How is his business separated from the administration if his business is making pro-Trump propaganda videos? How much is Trump Tower charging the Trump Campaign for rent and use of their facilities? No, the Trump Campaign money is not Donald’s money. Don’t you know he doesn’t spend his own money? How much are they charging the Republican National Committee? How much did Kayleigh get for selling her soul? These are important questions that will not be answered anytime soon on Trump TV.

You may wonder why McEnany doesn’t care about, at least giving the impression she is objective or capable of thinking for herself. You may wonder how can an educated person be comfortable delivering talking points misrepresented as “news.” Or, maybe you’re puzzled that she is so willing to piss away all credibility and objectivity for the rest of her entire life. To be fair to Kayleigh, she never had any of that to begin with.

The Trump sycophants, they LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Trump TV. Go hashtag “Trump TV” on Twitter, read the tweets, and then go throw up in a fern. I have to admit, I am still confused that so many people don’t want to be informed and they would rather be lied to.

It is puzzling why Trump felt the need to create Trump TV when he has Sean Hannity around to eat his meatloaf. Before you argue that Fox News is just one channel waxing the president’s pole, let me stop you right there. He also has One America News, which you have probably never heard of before now, or if you have seen it, it was by accident because your cat stepped on the remote. There is also the Blaze network which is not a channel of strippers, which would explain why you would have accidentally turned on that program. Donald Trump has more than three shitty channels lying for him. Soon, he may have over 200.

What? 200? Where? Probably in your living room. If you watch local news, there is a good chance you’re watching an affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcasting. Sinclair may own an ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, etc, in your city, but they control the local news and syndicated programs.

Currently, Sinclair owns stations in over 100 markets covering 42% of American households. The group is attempting to purchase 42 stations from Tribune, bringing its ownership count to 233 stations that could reach 72 percent of American households.

Sinclair claims they have a “hands-off approach” to how their local news stations cover topics and how they report. So, you might think it doesn’t matter that they’re a conservative company if they’re allowing their local stations to decide what needs to be covered. Again, I gotta stop you right there.

Sinclair creates prepacked news segments that it orders their station’s to air during their newscasts. These are called “must-runs.” Not only are they conservative, they’re frighteningly goose-stepping-Trump-loving-right-wing conservative. They are often hosted by Boris Epshteyn, who briefly worked in the Trump Administration as assistant communications director, and was a senior adviser on his campaign. Boris has had the meatloaf. Plus, his name is “Boris.” Kinda makes you wanna throw up in a fern.

John Oliver of HBO’s Last Week Tonight said that Sinclair is “the most influential media company you’ve never heard of.” He ran an episode criticizing the group and presented clips of various anchors introducing the same news story by stating that the FBI had a “personal vendetta” against Michael Flynn, critiqued the must-run “Terrorism Alert Desk” segments as defining terrorism as “anything a Muslim does”, and ran clips of editorials comparing multiculturalism and political correctness to a cancer epidemic, and stated that marriage was a solution to domestic abuse. Oliver said that he “did not know it was possible to dip below the journalistic standards of Breitbart.” Of course he said that before Kayleigh started hosting Trump TV.

Next time someone starts some bullshit about the media’s liberal bias, just kick them in the nuts. Yes, right in their lying nuts. Or, you can deliver my latest newest Spanish insult which is, “Que te folle un pez.” Yes, it’s dirty.

So, now we have Kayleigh McEnany reading off Trump TV. The thing is, you may have already been watching it. Now, you can go throw up in the fern.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.