The Washington Post takes a look at what is happening at WJLA after Sinclair Broadcast Group took over the Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate as part of its purchase of Allbritton in July.
The Post says WJLA has recently begun airing commentary from a conservative pundit named Mark Hyman and has created a partnership with what The Post calls the “editorially conservative Washington Times.”
In his video commentary, Hyman railed against the inconsistent enforcement of a ban on travel to Cuba by Americans. Noting that the music stars Jay Z and Beyoncé had “partied up” in Havana last year without penalty, Hyman insinuated that Obama had protected the couple from prosecution. “It occurs to me that Beyoncé and Jay Z are close friends of the president and first lady,” said Hyman, adding sarcastically, “You don’t suppose . . . oh, never mind. He’d never do that.”
Hyman’s critiques — which range from warning about the cost of Obamacare to advocating the abolition of the Transportation Security Administration — will be a regular feature on WJLA, just as they are on dozens of stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the new owner of ABC 7.
Staffers tell The Post Sinclair’s edicts to run certain politically slanted stories and its criticism of the Federal Government on its home turf “is bound to play badly.”
“You can’t run a TV station in Washington by telling government workers that they’re a bunch of criminals and crooks,” said one of the station’s journalists, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said he risked being fired if identified. “You can’t be the anti-government channel in Washington. They’re going to lose the trust they built up with people over years and years. We’ve told people, ‘We’re just like you,’ not, ‘We’re looking out for the tea party.’ ”
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