The Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation controls the news that is beamed into 193 local television stations across the country, reaching nearly 40% of all American homes. Owned and operated by right-wing Trump supporters, the corporation has forced its news anchors on several occasions this year to mouth pre-written Trump propaganda or else risk losing their jobs.
Now it is carrying water for Trump’s policy of kidnapping children seeking asylum at our borders, deliberately lying about the policy and blaming liberals for the public’s outrage:
Thus, this week, local news channels around the country informed their viewers that dishonest liberals were trying to fool them into thinking that the Trump administration had been separating migrant children from their families, in a heinously cruel bid to deter refugees from seeking asylum in the United States.
The on-air editorial commentary was provided by former Trump spokesman Boris Epshteyn:
“Our immigration system is undeniably broken and the discourse around this topic is toxic,” former Trump spokesman Boris Epshteyn explained on 193 different local news stations this week. “A perfect illustration of these facts is the recent firestorm surrounding President Trump’s decision to enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ policy and prosecute all adults illegally crossing our borders. Many members of the media and opponents of the president have seized on this issue to make it seem as if those who are tough on immigration are somehow monsters. Let’s be honest: While some of the concern is real, a lot of it is politically driven by the liberals in politics and the media.”
Epshteyn criticizes the media in his commentary, while praising Trump’s “corrective” action of signing his phony Executive Order this week purportedly reversing the policy. He never mentions the fact that the policy was a Trump invention from the outset, nor Trump’s lies over the past two weeks about his supposed inability to change it.
In his fair and balanced commentary, Epshteyn also neglected to entertain the possibility that liberal outrage over Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy had less to do with cynical partisan motives — or a radical commitment to open borders — than with the fact that the U.S. government has been ripping infants from their mothers, locking them in cages, and then insisting it has no responsibility to promptly reunite the families it separated.
Many older citizens, including, for example, my parents, do not subscribe to cable. A Sinclair affiliate is their only televised source of news information. Millions more watch their local news broadcasts with no inkling they are being deliberately targeted with state propaganda. The conglomerate’s tactics are now reminiscent of those autocratic states such as Hungary where identical headlines are blared across all channels in support of government policies. As stated cogently by Eric Levitz of New York Magazine:
[L]ocal TV news is fast becoming one more propaganda arm of our demagogic president’s reactionary movement.