Although many of us have probably forgotten that local broadcast news exists at all, according to John Oliver and his team, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s local news programs (after a Turner Media Group acquisition) reach about 2.2 million viewers every night, which is more than any primetime Fox News show. They don’t just have high viewership either. According to a Pew poll from last year, local news actually tends to be more trusted than national news. People are tuning in, basically, and John Oliver wants to know what they’re watching.
But first, who is Sinclair Broadcast Group, exactly? Well, they’re a massive corporation that currently is composed of 173 TV stations in 81 markets across the United States. So they own a huge swath of local tv stations, but they’re also incredibly conservative. Oliver’s segment begins by showing a footage of Mark Hyman, who hosts Sinclair’s political commentary show Behind the Headlines. It’s a shockingly conservative bit where Hyman calls out college “snowflakes” telling the “social justice warriors” to stop whining about private spaces and snapchatting the day away. These segments are produced by Sinclair, and sent to all of their local affiliates to air during their broadcasts.
The clip goes on to explain how unusual it is for a major owner of TV stations to distribute its own commentary segment. Sinclair appears to be the only one. And given that their segment includes such choice opinions as, “There is one step that’s proven to dramatically reduce domestic violence: Marriage,” and, “The opinion that only black people can legitimately have an afro? Someone should tell that to American folk singer, Art Garfunkel.” It’s a weirdly politicized, strongly conservative bit that really doesn’t seem like should be forced upon local stations and spread so liberally (pun not intended) across the country.
Once again, Oliver has done a fantastic job illuminating a lesser known issue and explaining it hilariously. Watch the full clip above.