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Sinclair Broadcasting Responds To Critics Of Their ‘Must Run’ Piece Promoting Tear Gas Attack

Sinclair Broadcasting recently came under fire for one of their latest ignorance-spreading “must run” opinion pieces by former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn. In the commentary segment, which local stations are forced to air with no rebuttal from an opposing opinion, Epshteyn makes a number of misleading claims, calls the caravan of asylum seekers an “invasion,” and insists the Trump administration was right to launch dozens of tear gas canisters at desperate families.

Sinclair responded to the controversy on Twitter with more misleading statements:

Of course, Epshteyn does not identify himself as a Trump toadie during his pieces. That information has to come from news anchors (if it comes at all). The “commentary” labels are inconspicuous, with Epshteyn claiming he’s presenting “facts” and not a “partisan position.” Furthermore, Sinclair doesn’t require any stations to run opinions countering Epshteyn’s pro-Trump nonsense.

As to their defense that they also provide unbiased reporting… that’s kind of what news stations usually do! Their straight news reporting isn’t a counter to the partisan opinion pieces, it’s a cover for them. Using it as a defense against charges of partisanship gives the game away.

The right-wing media outlet got bounced around Twitter for their disingenuous defense:

Sinclair would very much like for everyone to think it’s a straight news organization—or at least treat it that way—but it’s not. After the 2016 election, Jared Kushner bragged to a meeting of business bros that the Trump campaign had secured a deal to get more favorable coverage during the election.

Sinclair has also forced stations to air anti-Democratic propaganda in the past, including pieces that smeared Iraq War critics and fueled conspiracy theories that President Obama was in league with terrorists. They also have a history of aggressively enforcing these partisan directives by firing station managers that refuse and even suing any who break their contracts.

Sinclair is just one part of a massive corporate-controlled right-media machine hellbent on distorting the truth to their own partisan ends, but it’s a powerful one. According to a recent profile of the company in The New Yorker:

“A former news director at a Sinclair-owned station told me that [Sinclair Chairman David] Smith ‘purposely went in and bought a whole bunch of stations in mid-America—i.e., Trump kinds of towns. Places where they could have a big influence.’ She added, ‘I don’t care what your politics are—the bottom line is, they hatched a plan to have an effect on the majority of this country. And, when you look at it, I’m positive the right-wing commentaries, in small markets, had an effect on the election.’”