Will Sinclair's Conservative Slant work in Seattle?

Sinclair is buying KOMO in Seattle and it might be like ordering Dunkin Donuts coffee in the land of Starbucks.


The conservation slant of Sinclair might not go over well in the Left Coast liberal leaning city.

The Seattle Times writes that Sinclair Broadcast Group executives said they will bring resources and stability to KOMO TV and 19 other television stations they’ll get by acquiring Seattle-based Fisher Communications.

If Sinclair’s past is any indicator, they may also bring their conservative political leanings, even to one of the most liberal cities in the country.

“The track record of Sinclair suggests that Seattle is about to get a Fox News equivalent in a local television channel,” said David Domke, acting chairman of the University of Washington School of Communication.

Sinclair, which is based in the Baltimore suburbs, has seen huge growth over the past two decades as it has bought dozens of small television stations. As executives have made money, they have often given to conservative political causes.

The company has made that political agenda clear on the air, as well.

Most notoriously, the company ordered its stations to air a documentary critical of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry right before the 2004 election.

For years, Sinclair’s newscasts wrapped up with one-minute editorials hosted by conservative commentator Mark Hyman.

The 2010 and ’12 elections brought other examples of Sinclair’s political activism.

Kirby Wilbur, chairman of the Washington state Republican Party and a longtime KOMO radio personality, said a conservative bent could build loyalty among viewers who want their news through a right-leaning lens.

“If they think the numbers tell them that a news station on TV that is a little more slanted to the right would make it more profitable, then they should do that,” he said. “It’s their TV station. We live in a new media world, and TV stations have to innovate to survive.”

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