Like many, I am sometimes frustrated by news organizations. If they are not exaggerating what will turn out to be a relatively minor problem (e.g., Hillary Clinton’s emails), they are underplaying, or late in addressing, truly significant issues (e.g., the catalog of disqualifying factors that constitutes Donald Trump’s résumé).

That being said, having an independent press that is free to critique the actions of the government is fundamental to democracy. So it is troubling to note that Trump is determined to muzzle news media that produce reports that do not portray him in a positive light.

A development that strikes close to home is the recently revealed arrangement he reportedly made with the Sinclair Broadcast Group to garner favorable news coverage prior to the election. Under this agreement, Sinclair-owned TV stations – of which Portland’s WGME (Channel 13) is one – received increased access to Candidate Trump and his campaign.

In return, the Sinclair stations refrained from commentary about the broadcast material. Since so many of Mr. Trump’s statements are provocative and/or untrue, this was quite a gift to him. In essence, the Sinclair stations became conduits for Trumpian propaganda.

In this post-election time, the propaganda continues. On Dec. 20, WGME broadcast one of its “Behind the Headlines” editorial segments by Sinclair commentator Mark Hyman. In that piece, Mr. Hyman expressed doubt about the CIA report regarding the Russian efforts to influence the election and went on to state, falsely, that the FBI did not agree with the CIA assessment. (The FBI had officially endorsed the CIA assessment on Dec. 16.)

For WGME to broadcast commentary that so blatantly disregards the facts is unacceptable. For this, and to protest the Sinclair Group’s decision to become a tool of Donald Trump, I will no longer tune in to Channel 13. I can find Steven Colbert online.

Tom Berry


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