uiPhoto: Win McNamee/Getty Images.

As consolidation in the media industry has reduced the number of news outlets over the past decade, Sinclair media has managed to imprint its political influence by focusing on local TV markets, writes the New Yorker's Sheelah Kolhatkar in "The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire."

Why it matters: Local news is trusted more than national news, per a poll from the Pew Research Center. As the largest owner of TV stations in the U.S., Sinclair reaches nearly 40% of American viewers with its 192 stations in 89 markets. "Sinclair has largely evaded the kind of public scrutiny given to its more famous competitor, Fox News."

Among the approaches Sinclair has taken:

Sinclair anchors have sometimes been encouraged to read from scripts prepared by the company that display a rhetoric echoing President Trump's talking points.

  • On Sinclair's scripts, Dan Rather tweeted: "News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda. It’s Orwellian. A slippery slope to how despots wrest power, silence dissent, and oppress the masses."

The company’s executive chairman, David Smith, is a conservative with libertarian views, is suspicions of the government and is against political correctness, Kolhatkar writes.

Many instances in past coverage has shown its biases for President George W. Bush and the Iraq War. "In April, 2004, Sinclair forbade its stations from airing a 'Nightline' special produced by ABC News, called 'The Fallen,' in which Ted Koppel read the names of every member of the U.S. armed forces killed in the war."

The bottom line: 50% of Americans get their news from TV, according to Pew. Sinclair owns more stations in swing states than any other company, which could have huge impact on how people vote in the midterm elections and looking ahead to 2020.

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 21,295,429 — Total deaths: 767,714— Total recoveries: 13,295,750Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,345,610 — Total deaths: 169,146 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes — Patients grow more open with their health data during pandemic — FDA issues emergency use authorization for Yale's saliva coronavirus test.
  4. Education: "Historic" laptop demand leads to shortages ahead of remote school — Why learning pods aren't a panacea for remote learning — The COVID-19 learning cliff.
  5. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  6. Podcasts: The rise of learning podsSpecial ed under pressure — Not enough laptops — The loss of learning.

The COVID-19 learning cliff

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Perhaps the most jarring reality of the COVID-19 pandemic for families has been the sudden and dramatic disruption to all levels of education, which is expected to have deep social and economic repercussions for years — if not decades — to come.

Why it matters: As millions of students are about to start the school year virtually, at least in part, experts fear students may fall off an educational cliff — missing key academic milestones, falling behind grade level and in some cases dropping out of the educational system altogether.

Postal slowdown threatens election breakdown

In 24 hours, signs of a pre-election postal slowdown have moved from the shadows to the spotlight, with evidence emerging all over the country that this isn't a just a potential threat, but is happening before our eyes.

Why it matters: If you're the Trump administration, and you're in charge of the federal government, remember that a Pew poll published in April found the Postal Service was viewed favorably by 91% of Americans.