When Sinclair announced that they were going to buy WJLA in DC, many staffers worried what direction Sinclair would take the station.
As expected, Sinclair is slowly turning the station to the right.
The Washington Post says that last week, for example, WJLA viewers woke up to a new face on the morning news: Mark Hyman, a veteran conservative pundit, who offered some criticism of President Obama.
In his commentary, Hyman railed against the inconsistent enforcement of a ban on travel to Cuba by Americans. Noting that the music stars Jay Z and Beyoncé had “partied up” in Havana last year without penalty, Hyman insinuated that Obama had protected the couple from prosecution. “It occurs to me that Beyoncé and Jay Z are close friends of the president and first lady,” said Hyman, adding sarcastically, “You don’t suppose . . . oh, never mind. He’d never do that.”
Many staffers see the changes and are worried what it will do for the station's reputation in DC.
Staffers say some of the stories ordered by Sinclair on a “must-run” basis don’t meet the station’s long tradition of non-partisan reporting. Moreover, they suggest that airing criticism of the federal government without rebuttal is bound to play badly in a region that is home to hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
“You can’t run a TV station in Washington by telling government workers that they’re a bunch of criminals and crooks,” said one of the station’s journalists, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said he risked being fired if identified. “You can’t be the anti-government channel in Washington. They’re going to lose the trust they built up with people over years and years. We’ve told people, ‘We’re just like you,’ not, ‘We’re looking out for the tea party.’