The Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns 174 stations, is reportedly airing must-run segments slotted into local newscasts across the country.
The segments are reportedly filled with pro-Trump and pro-Republican messaging.
ThinkProgress notes that a recent Sinclair Broadcasting must-run “news” segment featured “Behind the Headlines with Mark Hyman,” which lied about Obamacare.
Hyman is a former vice president for corporate relations for Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Hyman falsely claimed “We have the greatest health care in the world,” even though about 27 million Americans do not have health insurance, and America consistently ranks at the bottom of health care compared to other nations, per surveys done by The Commonwealth Fund.
Hyman then used twisted non-logic to claim that Obamacare is not making people healthier, despite 20 million more people having access to health care under Obamacare.
Hyman argued that having access to health care actually made life worse:
With Obamacare in place, more Americans are dying than ever before. Now this doesn’t mean Obamacare is killing people, but it does mean that Obamacare isn’t making people healthier.
ThinkProgress notes: “The connection between Obamacare and a higher mortality rate has no correlation whatsoever, and experts actually cite more car crashes, drug overdoses, and gun deaths as the driving reasons for that rate — not Obamacare.”
Hyman concluded his segment with unsupported right wing fear-mongering: “government-directed health care can kill.”
Media Matters reported in July that Sinclair “has been pushing a right-wing slant on local television stations across the country for years. Owned by the Smiths, a family of longtime Republican donors who have all the ambition of News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch but a much lower profile, Sinclair has mostly flown under the radar. But following the election of President Donald Trump, the network has begun adopting the playbook Roger Ailes used to turn Fox News into a conservative media goliath.
Media Matters noted that Sinclair executive Scott Livingston has denied that Sinclair is trying to expand right-wing local news, and claimed that reports noting this are by “biased” reporters seeking to “destroy our reputation.”
Media Matters points out that after Sinclair hired “former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn as its chief political analyst, Sinclair announced it would be increasing the number of times per week that Epshteyn’s right-wing commentary segment, ‘Bottom Line with Boris,’ must air on its local stations. Media critic David Zurawik has described these segments as “as close to classic propaganda as I think I have seen” over his 30-year career.”