Sinclair Broadcasting has a new tie to Russia Today, a Kremlin propaganda outlet.
Trump-loving Sinclair Broadcasting, the local television behemoth that forces its affiliates to run GOP-friendly commentaries, seems to be following the Republican Party’s path of persuasion toward the Kremlin.
Not only is the company demanding its local anchors to read on-air statements denouncing, “fake news” and warning of the dangers of “one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” But the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Sinclair has hired at least one producer who used to work for the Russian propaganda outlet Russia Today.
Earlier this month, former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka aired a “must-run” commentary on Sinclair stations that echoed the White House conspiracy about the looming “Deep State” within the U.S. intelligence community that’s supposedly trying to take down the Trump presidency.
“That segment was produced by Sinclair’s Kristine Frazao, who before coming to Sinclair was a reporter and anchor for the Russian-government funded news network RT,” the Post-Intelligencer reports.
RT, or Russia Today, “was conceived as a soft-power tool to improve Russia’s image abroad, to counter the anti-Russian bias the Kremlin saw in the Western media,” according to the Columbia Journalism Review. “Since its founding in 2005, however, the broadcast outlet has become better known as an extension of former President Vladimir Putin’s confrontational foreign policy.”
In fact, RT was recently forced to register itself in the U.S. as a “foreign agent” of the Russian government. “It’s a move that effectively marks the network, which runs both a website and a cable television channel, as a propaganda outfit for Moscow,” noted Vox.
RT played a central role in the Kremlin’s attempt to undercut the 2016 election in the U.S. Last year, a report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Russian interference identified RT as a primary source of propaganda in the U.S. that was intended to advance Russian interests.
Last year, Trump’s FCC ripped up long-standing regulations that limited the number of local television stations a single company could own in the U.S.
Since then, Sinclair has made a $3.9 billion bid to acquire the Tribune Company. If completed, the deal would put the company in control of 223 TV stations, a previously unheard of number of outlets for a single television broadcast company to own.
Combined, the stations would give Sinclair access to more than 70 percent of American households, including major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
If Russian propagandists are looking for work in the U.S., now they know where to apply.