Sinclair Broadcast Group will stop producing the must-run political commentary segments that have attracted the company a lot of criticism since former Trump White House staffer Boris Epshteyn began hosting them.
A commentary by its chief political analyst Boris Epshteyn on the use of tear gas to stop migrants has triggered protests, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said it is reconsidering allowing Sinclair representatives to attend its job recruitment events. Sinclair tweeted that Epshteyn’s opinions “in this segment do not reflect the views of Sinclair Broadcast Group.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has faced criticism for forcing its nearly 200 local television stations to air right-leaning “must run” segments, has distributed a new two-minute commentary defending the use of tear gas on migrants at the border. In the segment, Boris Epshteyn, the broadcaster’s chief political analyst and a former Trump White House official, argued that American authorities “had to use tear gas” on hundreds of migrants at a border crossing near San Diego on Sunday to guard against an “attempted invasion” of the United States.
A corporately-mandated promotional announcement is causing tensions inside of many of the newsrooms of Sinclair’s TV stations, where anchors and correspondents for years have long been required to present prepackaged reports that reflect the conservative views of the Maryland-based company’s owners.
Portland, Maine, CBS affiliate WGME and Fox affiliate WPFO each carry commentary segments by Boris Epshteyn nine times a week on orders from their owner, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the nation’s largest owner of local television stations and an aggressive, unabashed disseminator of conservative commentary supporting the Trump wing of the Republican Party. The commentaries are raising some eyebrows among viewers and others in the state.
The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik: “Since joining Sinclair in April, the group’s chief political analyst and former Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn has consistently parroted Team Trump’s position in “Bottom Line With Boris” segments. Some of his commentary has come as close to classic propaganda as anything I have seen in broadcast television in the last 30 years. Epshteyn’s commentaries will now appear eight or nine times a week on all [the group’s] stations,” Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s VP of news says.
Newsy Ramps Up For 24/7 News
Sinclair left it to commentator Boris Epshteyn to respond to John Oliver’s take down of its right-of-center national news coverage and commentary. Epshteyn focused on Oliver’s criticism that the “Terrorism Alert Desk,” a daily report that Sinclair distributes to all of its stations, is scare-mongering and anti-Muslim. “Terrorism is not nonsense,” Epshteyn said, citing recent terror attacks. “It is necessary to cover it on a regular basis.” See it here.
TV station powerhouse Sinclair Broadcast Group raised a few eyebrows in April when it hired Boris Epshteyn as its chief political analyst. Epshteyn, after all, was a combative TV surrogate for President Trump during the presidential campaign and briefly was a Trump administration press aide, raising an obvious question: How independent would his political analysis be? The answer, judging from Epshteyn’s first few weeks on the job, seems to be not very.
Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump campaign spokesman, has joined Sinclair Broadcast Group as chief political analyst. Epshteyn will serve as a commentator on political news coverage offered by Sinclair’s 173 television stations.