Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, isn’t just the owner of a media outlet; he apparently also has clout with major media companies. It turns out that he actually used that clout to secure more favorable coverage for Donald Trump during the election cycle.
Can we say, “Bribes?” The agreement, which is supposedly a standard, extended agreement between media companies and political candidates, gave Sinclair Broadcast Group more access to Trump and his campaign than the networks might have had. Sinclair owns local television stations across the country, particularly in swing states, and even packages news for those stations to report.
Sinclair has a much bigger audience in swing states than even CNN does. That meant that the “favorable” coverage of the Trump campaign likely reached a wider audience than the major networks did.
The deal meant that Sinclair was broadcasting Trump’s interviews without any commentary at all. Not from anchors, not from pundits, not from panels. None, so that even people who couldn’t understand what was really happening could buy into what Trump had to sell. Experts be damned in this case.
Be aware, though, that CNN turned down a similar offer. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows how badly Trump has worked to smear CNN on social media.
To be sure, Sinclair and other networks say there’s nothing underhanded about this, nor is it new behavior. It’s “an arrangement for extended sit-down interviews with both candidates,” which is something campaigns have apparently always done so they can get around the national networks and reach audiences more directly.
However, because Kushner owns The New York Observer, this doesn’t look good at all. Given the fact that Kushner is looking to join Trump’s administration without breaking anti-nepotism laws, it looks even worse.
Now, both Kushner and Trump look less like they’re exploring options and more like they bribed a media conglomerate to ensure that someone with access to local audiences was working to make Trump look like that golden crown on his head is a good thing, rather than a very bad thing.
Despite that, Sinclair claims that the extended coverage included Hillary Clinton’s campaign, too. Scott Livingston, vice president of news at Sinclair, even said:
“Our commitment to our viewers is to go beyond podium, beyond the rhetoric. We’re all about tracking the truth and telling the truth and that’s typically missing in most political coverage.”
There’s no respect for the media on Trump’s end, though, regardless of what ass-kissing they do. Say good things about him, and you’re gold. Say one thing that’s even remotely critical, and suddenly, you’re in his cross-hairs. Sinclair sold its soul for something built on quicksand.
Featured image by Larry Busacca via Getty Images