Sinclair Broadcast Group Distributes Partisan Editorials Masked as News, Forcing Local News Stations to Run Boris Epshteyn Segments Nine Times a Week
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In light of reports that Trump ally Sinclair Broadcast Group is mandating its stations run political segments by Trump media surrogate Boris Epshteyn nine times a week, Allied Progress is condemning the move and calling for regulators to oppose Sinclair’s proposed merger with Tribune Media Company. If the merger is approved by regulators, Sinclair would expand its reach to 233 television stations penetrating 72 percent of households, making it the largest broadcaster of local news in the country.
“Sinclair isn’t just a conservative media organization, it’s a pro-Trump outlet masquerading partisan editorials as local news programming,” said Allied Progress spokeswoman Tucker Middleton.
During the 2016 campaign, Sinclair made an unethical secret deal to secure exclusive access to Trump, and agreeing in exchange that Sinclair stations would broadcast positive packages on Trump with no fact checking or context.
Middleton continued, “Now, as the Trump Administration formally begins the process of reviewing this controversial merger, Sinclair is sweetening the deal and mandating that stations broadcast one-sided political commentary from Trump family loyalist Boris Epshteyn nine times a week. This biased preprogramming does a disservice to consumers, and Sinclair should not be allowed by federal regulators to expand its reach to new levels.”
Epshteyn, a friend of Eric Trump since they attended Georgetown University together, first began working for Donald Trump as a paid campaign media surrogate, then as a spokesman for the presidential inaugural committee and a White House official. Before leaving the White House for Sinclair, Epshteyn was a special assistant to the President leading the White House’s television surrogate operations. During his tenure as a Trump spokesperson, Epshteyn publicly denied Russia’s seizing of Crimea, denied Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and once threatened a White House boycott of Fox News after being pressed for details by an anchor about the administration’s “Muslim Ban.”
Even while holding this position with Sinclair, Epshteyn is among current and former Trump staffers who have retained legal counsel following the investigation into administration ties to Russia.
In May 2017, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced an agreement to acquire Tribune Media Group for $3.9 billion. The announcement came a month after President Trump’s handpicked Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, passed a rule change that redefined media monopolies – just in time to help Sinclair expand its reach to the vast majority of US households. On July 6, 2017, the FCC announced the beginning of its review of the Sinclair-Tribune merger.
To speak with Allied Progress about Boris Epshteyn and the Sinclair merger, please contact Mike Czin at 202-286-7654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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