According to a recent Pew study, Americans place more trust in local news than they do national news, but is that trust misguided? In last night’s segment of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver revealed that the majority of local news stations are owned by a right-leaning corporation named Sinclair Broadcast Group, which requires subsidiaries to air certain segments, including one called “Terrorism Alert Desk.”
That’s a problem, especially considering very few people had ever heard of this company before last night. “Wow, it is a little disconcerting to learn that something you’ve only just heard of is throwing around 4 billion dollars,” Oliver said. “It’s like finding out that ExxonMobil just got bought, and it was by the little twerp that plays the new Spider-Man.”
Tom Holland hits aside, Oliver is right to be concerned. A quick look into segments produced by Sinclair and sent to subsidiary stations (an unusual practice in itself) reveals disturbingly tranquil newscaster Mark Hyman warning of the “cancer” of “political correctness and multiculturalism” and declaring marriage as a solution to domestic violence.
Oliver closed the segment with an appearance from someone you probably haven’t thought about for some time: “The Sopranos” actor Steve Schirripa (AKA Bobby Baccalieri). Schirripa encouraged local stations to include disclaimers with any Sinclair-produced content or mandated segments. “The people at this station know that local news should never be about cheap scare-mongering or advancing the political agenda,” Schirripa said. “It should only be about weather, sports, I-team investigations and human interest stories featuring cute animals.”
Watch the segment below: