Sinclair Broadcasting is a right-wing media company that owns a staggering number of small television stations and uses them to broadcast GOP-friendly propaganda—masquerading as local news—into living rooms across the country. They’re basically the “small town” version of Fox News.
If the name Sinclair rings a bell, it’s probably because you recall this bone-chilling script they forced their anchors to read smearing “mainstream media” (AKA any non-right-wing media outlet).
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018
Thanks, news zombies! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for any suspicious reporters who appear to have a corporate-controlled agenda.
Sinclair also forces stations to air misleading “must-run” news segments stoking fears about Democrats, terrorism, and immigrants and commentary from former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, who as you can tell from this clip, definitely didn’t get his job because of his charismatic on-screen presence.
The latest gaslighting from Sinclair and Epshteyn is that there’s an “invasion” underway on the U.S.-Mexico border from the unarmed asylum seekers who walked 2,000 miles to get away from rampant gang violence in their home countries.
In the segment, Epshteyn makes a number of false or misleading statements, such as:
”This past weekend, the United States was forced to temporarily close a major point of entry in San Diego, California, in response to hundreds of migrants attempting to storm the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes of claiming asylum.”
This gets the whole “border crisis” exactly backward. First of all, it’s 100% legal to apply for asylum but you have to be present in the United States to do so. The Trump administration is prosecuting any asylum seekers who don’t enter the country through dedicated ports of entry like San Ysidro in San Diego, the closest port to asylum seekers. Trump also closed San Ysidro, saying they couldn’t handle that many asylum seekers. You know, like when a popular restaurant shuts down because too many people want to eat there! (Obviously, this transparent rope-a-dope led to some frustration, which is not to excuse any rock throwing, just to provide the context for it.)
Epshteyn also excuses the use of tear gas against women and children, claiming Border Patrol had no other choice:
”Dozens of migrants attacked U.S. border enforcement by throwing rocks and bottles. Ultimately, American authorities had to use tear gas to stop the attacks.”
“Dozens” out of thousands isn’t exactly an invasion and this completely ignores the directive given by Trump to use deadly force against any migrant armed with a rock.
Epshteyn’s “bottom line” (Hey, that’s the name of the segment!) knocks over a flimsy straw man argument that literally no one is making:
Here’s the bottom line: The notion that a caravan of migrants can be allowed to break through our borders is ludicrous and dangerous. The United States of America should not and cannot be intimidated by those willing to use force to get into our country illegally.
The only thing anyone is asking for is that our government properly process the refugees escaping brutality in their home countries, who are seeking to apply for asylum legally. That’s it! That’s all! We’ve been doing this stuff for years, it shouldn’t be a whole thing! Just do the work and get it done.
(Then again, maybe if President Grover Cleveland shut down all the ports to bar German immigrants in the 19th century, Trump’s grandfather would have languished in Bavaria or wherever. A man can dream…)
In a Twitter thread, Washington Post writer Greg Sargent laid out the larger issue of Sinclair’s role in spreading disinformation in stark detail:
1) This is extraordinary.— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) November 28, 2018
Sinclair is now reportedly requiring dozens of local stations to air a segment that defends the tear-gassing of migrants and describes them as an “invasion of our country.”
I’m not sure we’ve figured out how to conceptualize this adequately.