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April 3, 2018 9:07 am - NewsBehavingBadly.com

Chances are pretty high that you don’t recognize that face to the right — but you should.

He is arguably as powerful — and even more noxious — than the late Roger Ailes.

His name is David Smith, and he is the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group.

You’ve probably heard a little bit about local news anchors at the nearly 200 local television stations owned by Sinclair being forced to read a scripted propaganda piece decrying so-called “fake news” at the top of a recent broadcast. The story went viral thanks to a truly disturbing “remix” of video from dozens Sinclair affiliates created by Deadspin’s Timpthy Burke to accompany an article on the broadcaster having used television journalists as tools of Trump-aligned propaganda.

Burke’s article also contains the transcribed text of the script.

And make no mistake: Sinclair was an active and perceptibly eager promoter of former “reality” show host Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Donald Trump’s campaign struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage, his son-in-law Jared Kushner told business executives Friday in Manhattan.

Kushner said the agreement with Sinclair, which owns television stations across the country in many swing states and often packages news for their affiliates to run, gave them more access to Trump and the campaign, according to six people who heard his remarks.

In exchange, Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 listeners — than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000.

No perspective, no analysis, no fact-checking. Can you say “propaganda”? Sure you can!  Therefore, it should come as no surprise as to what Sinclair head poobah Smith considers “fake news,” in his own words to nymag.com’s Olivia Nuzzi.

New York communicated with Smith in mid-November, after requesting an interview. “Appreciate the interest in your wanting to do a story but we don’t talk to the print media as a general principal as we find them to be so devoid of reality and serving no real purpose. Have a great holiday,” Smith said in response. Later, he added, “Again my experience has consistently been that even with an interview it’s of no consequence in terms of spin, facts or distortion, political bent etc. The print media is so left wing as to be meaningless dribble which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away. Just no credibility. see ya.

There you have it: not only is Smith is dismissive of journalism, but he doesn’t know the difference between the words “drivel” and “dribble.”

But there is something else you should know about Smith, also mentioned in Nuzzi’s article.

[P]reviously, David had been a partner at Ciné Processors, a bootleg porn manufacturer owned by the elder Smith’s company, the Commercial Radio Institute, according to a 2005 story in Rolling Stone.

Oh, no!

That Rolling Stone article has more dirty details!

In the 1970s, [Smith] was a partner in a business called Ciné Processors, which made bootleg copies of porn films in the basement of a building owned by another of his father’s companies, the Commercial Radio Institute. “We had the film-processing lab in operation for, like, a year,” recalls David Williams, Smith’s partner at Ciné. “The first film we copied was Deep Throat, which had just opened in New York and was not available anywhere else.” According to Williams, Ciné got involved with the mob and was busted by the police. “How David got control of the family company after that, I don’t know,” he says. “He was just a big egotist. He wanted attention.”

Yours truly would not be surprised if the experiences Smith garnered from his involvement with organized crime came in handy for wresting control of Sinclair from the rest of the family.

Just sayin’…

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dave-dr-gonzo
Dave "Doctor" Gonzo is a renegade media producer, occasional bassist, web developer, and Grammy® voter. He is editor and senior contributor to News Behaving Badly. He has written for American Politics Journal, Alan Colmes' Liberaland (Dave was also a semi-frequent Friday guest on Alan's radio show), and (in print) Audio Review. Dave lives in s fortified compound with doorman in Manhattan's not-so-trendy Yorkville neighborhood.