The Fox and Sinclair campaigns are telling their audience something very different. They are telling their viewers that they stand with the president of the United States, in opposition to his foes in the rest of the press. They are stating — implicitly in the case of Fox, explicitly in the case of Sinclair — that while other media outlets are producing “fake news,” they are not. It’s a declaration that the networks are a safe space for conservatives: If you are worried about turning on the television and hearing criticism of the president, you can tune in to these networks and instead hear praise of his many successes.
The Post’s Margaret Sullivan wrote last year that the central media divide was between what she termed the “reality-based press,” which tries to discover what the powerful are doing and hold them to account, and “propaganda” outlets that seek to obscure the truth and protect those in power. Both Fox and Sinclair have made it as clear as possible which side of that divide they fall on.