Aligning itself with the generally right-leaning bent of Sinclair’s television stations, Circa under Solomon’s direction had a distinctly ideological feel, pioneering a certain symbiosis with Fox News host Sean Hannity. As Laura Hazard Owen wrote in a Nieman Lab piece, then-Circa staffer Sara Carter appeared on “Hannity” more than 30 times over several months during 2017 alone. One of their widely-circulated pieces suggested a news-breaking look at some misfeasance by the Obama administration. It had already been covered, though.
Then the Solomon experiment ended, abruptly, in July 2017, when he jumped to The Hill to serve as executive vice president of digital video. Since then, the site has carried on under the direction of Manny Fantis.
The layoffs speak, of course, to the difficulty of making money as a news site, as well as to the efficiency of consolidation. “Circa will now be able to capitalize on breaking news stories from Sinclair’s National News Desk in Washington D.C., by combining resources to expand the depth and breadth of national coverage. In addition, Circa will be evolving to take advantage of the breaking content from the more than 70 local Sinclair newsrooms from across the country. Circa will have immediate access to more unique and compelling news stories that can be easily aggregated and fed to all consumer platforms,” notes the company’s news release.
Already the largest owner of television stations in the country, Sinclair would grow even bigger with the pending acquisition of Tribune Media, which would bump its station count from roughly 200 to 233. Federal Communications Commission approval is required, and the company would likely have to shed some of its licenses as part of the process.