Sinclair Broadcasting: Our Insane 'Must-Run' Rants? Those Are *Someone Else's* Insane 'Must Run' Rants!
You may recall the wee bit of outrage this spring when anchors at local TV affiliates owned by Sinclair Broadcasting were forced to read the very same editorial script as if it were the anchors' own opinions. Even Donald Trump made fun of the fake news, at least until he learned the Sinclair stations were also running pre-taped pro-Trump messages. Many of them even featured shitcanned former Trump White House staffer Boris Epshteyn, aka "Oh yeah, he's a different shitcanned Trump staffer than Seb Gorka." This week, Sinclair was at it again, mandating that its more than 100 stations run an Epshteyn segment praising Dear Leader for tear-gassing women and children at the border, because after all, the few dozen migrants (out of several thousand asylum seekers) who were arrested breaking through border fences Sunday was an "invasion," just like D-Day, and you wouldn't expect the USA to let an invading foreign army wade ashore without shooting back, would you?
Here's the must-run "Bottom Line With Boris" segment explaining why we must use as much force as physically possible to address a border "crisis," because fewer than 100 people barging through fences (and not one actually making it into the USA) is exactly like when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.
NEW: Sinclair stations are now airing a Boris Epshteyn "must-run" segment defending tear-gassing children at the bo… https://t.co/4mZo96oqxW— Pam Vogel (@Pam Vogel) 1543340800.0
The migrant crisis on our southern border has greatly escalated [...]
Dozens of migrants attacked US border enforcement by throwing rocks and bottles. Ultimately, American authorities had to use tear gas to stop the attacks.
They had no choice! Epshteyn claimed, echoing Trump, "The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country, period."
Nope. An invasion looks like this, and it generally involves an actual army:
Call what happened at the border this weekend a "riot" if you have to, but that's still not an "invasion." And we'll save for another time the point that Donald Trump's own policies restricting access to asylum are what have "escalated" tensions at the border -- the USA has routinely handled far larger numbers of border crossers in the past.
Epshteyn's little rant about saving America from the hordes of a few dozen scary Latinos provoked outrage on social media, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists suggested it might bar Sinclair and its affiliates from events and partnerships over what it called "propaganda."
Fortunately, Sinclair made everything better Wednesday with an important announcement: Turns out you shouldn't assume Sinclair Broadcasting actually believes the things it tells its stations they must run!
We'd like to take a moment and address some concerns regarding a commentary segment by @borisep that was aired on S… https://t.co/lb5odYS5JM— Sinclair Broadcast Group (@Sinclair Broadcast Group) 1543448515.0
See, the stations are contractually obliged to run the Epshteyn commentaries, but they're clearly labeled as Boris Epshteyn's thoughts, so don't you go saying Sinclair Broadcasting is justifying horrible opinions! Sinclair is simply requiring its stations to air the views of this one guy, who definitely does not speak for Sinclair, which is proud of its fair, unbiased journamalism!
If you have any concerns about any of our content, we genuinely want to hear from you: https://t.co/fHYqYwcRCR. Abo… https://t.co/G3rMIb3uRy— Sinclair Broadcast Group (@Sinclair Broadcast Group) 1543448516.0
The Washington Post notes Sinclair tweeted the disclaimer after a second "Bottoming With Boris" segment in which Epshteyn defended the honor of conspiracy doofus Laura Loomer. Loomer was banned from Twitter after another of her anti-Muslim rants; this time she accused congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar of being an anti-Semitic monster who hates all Jews, because after all, Omar is Muslim and she once criticized Israel. Ergo, Loomer is not a bigot, but an American Patriot being censored for saying Omar is "pro Sharia" and "anti Jewish," which of course Epshteyn defended as simply factual statements.
It's not entirely clear which particular segment Sinclair is distancing itself from with its tweets -- maybe both? -- but the main thing to remember is that the corporation definitely does not endorse any of the views it requires its stations to run. Epshteyn's just this guy, you know? Not that anyone really believe's Sinclair's ass-covering:
Matthew Gertz, a fellow at Media Matters for America, said he found Sinclair's defense of Epshteyn to be disingenuous.
"He is one of a handful of right-wingers whose commentary Sinclair forces stations to run," Gertz wrote. "He has no natural audience; his YouTube views are minuscule."
We're looking forward to Sinclair clarifying it didn't really intend anyone to think these are its official views, either:
How America's largest local TV owner turned its news anchors into soldiers in Trump's war on the media:… https://t.co/6PJdQRO2EA— Deadspin (@Deadspin) 1522527089.0
But we guess things have changed since that hilarious montage was put together back in March. At the time, Sinclair's chairman, David D. Smith, scoffed at criticism of the mandatory editorial, explaining in an email to the New York Times,
"You cant be serious!" he wrote. "Do you understand that as a practical matter every word that comes out of the mouths of network news people is scripted and approved by someone?"
Everything, that is, except Boris Epshteyn's independent thoughts which are his and not actually the opinion of anyone.
We hope you will enjoy our next feature, an essay on the absolute necessity of abstinence-only sex ed, which Yr Editrix will later say didn't reflect her views when she made us write it.
[Daily Beast / Vox / Mediaite / WaPo / NYT]
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