The Sinclair Broadcast Group, a pro-Trump media company that owns nearly 200 local stations around the country and regularly seeds them with right-wing talking points, is backing away from political commentary, according to NBC News.
In a statement sent out to staff Wednesday, the company said it will nix current political commentary segments and dedicate the time to “local investigative journalism.” The most high-profile casualty of the change is Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump campaign staffer who used his “Bottom Line” segment to push the Trump agenda. In one particularly incendiary bit, Epshteyn, who will be transitioned to a “sales role” at Sinclair, said immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border were attempting an “invasion of our country.”
NBC News reports:
Sinclair said it wants to prioritize what’s important to people on a local level and is putting more focus on the kind of investigative work represented by “Project Baltimore,” a report that looked into alleged grade fixing in the Baltimore school system. The effort won multiple awards.
The shift comes as Sinclair’s reputation as a right-wing propaganda machine has grown. In 2017, John Oliver showed his HBO audience what local news viewers see every night, highlighting Sinclair’s xenophobic “Terrorism Alert Desk,” among other thing. In 2018, Deadspin compiled video of dozens of Sinclair anchors delivering the same diatribe against “biased and false news.” Later that same year, in a move Trump criticized, the FCC killed Sinclair’s bid to merge with Tribune. But the company seemed undeterred, hiring several former conservative figures earlier this year in an apparent bid to out–Fox News Fox News, which has recently drawn Trump’s ire.
Now, though, the company that cut a deal to give friendly coverage to the Trump campaign will no longer serve as such a reliable mouthpiece. One America News, it’s your time to shine.