by WorldTribune Staff, May 25, 2017
With the passing of conservative icon Roger Ailes, a new challenger to a weakened Fox News is on the horizon – Sinclair Broadcast Group.
After agreeing to buy Tribune Media, Sinclair will have 215 stations in 108 markets, including such major markets as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
The bruising 2016 U.S. presidential election took its toll on Fox News with the high-profile exit of Megyn Kelly, whom Donald Trump had strongly challenged in the first primary debate, followed by lame election night coverage and the the subsequent ousters of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
Trump survived the campaign and prevailed in the election only to encounter an outraged media establishment and a Fox News contingent that was falling under the sway of Rupert Murdoch’s more liberal children. Even unabashed Trump advocate Sean Hannity was reportedly on the brink of being pushed out in the week before the Memorial Day weekend.
Fox’s decline was portrayed in mainstream media reports as resulting from spontaneous outrage against a sexist management. But Conservative observers that included former Fox executives countered that the attack was rather the Left’s retaliation against Trump’s upset win and enforced using orchestrated pressure on advertisers by the likes of the George Soros-funded Media Matters that relentlessly targets conservative media platforms and personalities.
Related: Sean Hannity, only major journalist covering Seth Rich story, may be forced out at Fox, May 24, 2017
Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley called the planned acquisition “transformational” in a statement, adding: “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets.”
Sinclair recently signed former Trump campaign aide Boris Epshteyn as its chief political analyst. To lead its Sunday public affairs show, Sinclair hired former CBS correspondent Sharyl Atkisson, an investigative reporter whose scrutiny of the Obama administration won her the admiration of many conservatives.
Already the legions of Fox News viewers are jumping ship as the network’s ratings have dropped.
The New York Times and The Washington Post, in front page articles, “warn of the coming threat from Sinclair. The threat is also called competition, and it will come like gale-force winds wiping away the fetid, debilitating atmosphere that Americans have been, perforce, inhabiting, especially on both coasts,” R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. wrote for The American Spectator on May 24.
Tyrrell wrote that “the Kultursmog is that collection of attitudes, ideas, tastes, and personages that are all polluted by the politics of the American left. Politically the left has been making heavy weather of it for years. It has a hard time competing in free elections and in an open marketplace. Yet in the realms of Kultur the left has had almost dictatorial sway.
“Over the past year, its influence was even felt at Fox News, where the 76-year-old Ailes was given the heave-ho over as yet unproven charges of sexual harassment. He got the boot unceremoniously along with various of his understudies and stars.”
Tyrrell says “the conservative audience that Ailes built up” at Fox “can now simply turn its dials to Sinclair and to others.”
At the funeral service for Ailes in Palm Beach over the weekend, Tyrrell noted “there were many memorable lines. Rush Limbaugh was there saying Roger was ‘an American original,’ and Sean Hannity pronounced him ‘an American patriot of the highest level.’ Yet there was another theme that struck me powerfully. The priest presiding said Roger’s wife had asked him to ‘base some of my reading[s] on the theme of suffering. I believe Roger suffered quite a bit with these accusations.’ ”
Tyrrell continued: “I think it was at a dinner at the River Club in the winter of 2010 that he mentioned he had to be careful. There were people out to get him. I thought, ‘How could that be?’ He had dominated the cable market for years, making Fox a fortune. … I called him a few times in his retirement. He was always his old jaunty self, but on one thing he was adamant. He had done nothing wrong.”
The readings Ailes’ wife requested from the priest “suggest she well understood the world Roger inhabited. It is never easy to be a conservative up against the Kultursmog, Tyrrell wrote.