Here's where it gets crazy. First, click the link. Then come back so we can talk about it.
Reddit commenter, AnalgesicSonar, outlines beautifully the heart of this issue:
That's because what CNN did is syndicate content, making stories available for local stations to use if they wished. It's not super far from a newspaper paying for AP wire services and choosing to fill inches with AP stories. It's a symptom of the collapse of local journalism.
What Sinclair did is push mandatory content that each station was forced to run. Not only that, Sinclair has been noted recently for the heavily partisan stuff it's been pushing to local stations, including mandatory right-wing opinion pieces by former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn. This is at the same time that Trump's White House appears to be bending telecom laws do favor Sinclair while using the government to harm media he considers disloyal (such as a potentially politically motivated denial of the ATT merger and his attacks on Jeff Bezos and Amazon).
Not only that, the mandatory message tracks closely the president's authoritarian message that only media loyal to him can be trusted and everything else is a lie.
That's what's scary. It's one think to have a big company make cookie-cutter, corporate-friendly content available to replace local content. That sucks. It's another to have a partisan political content forced out of the mouths of anchors on behalf of a propaganda company that acts hand in glove with the ruling regime. That's terrifying.