Since the FCC shockingly did the right thing last year, preventing Sinclair Broadcasting from taking over Tribune Media and with it control over the local broadcast airwaves reaching 72% of the nation’s households, the broadcaster has sort of flown under the radar. That doesn’t mean it’s not competing with Fox News to be Trump’s favorite propaganda machine, however.
Media Matters has detailed another “must-run” commentary, one of those segments Sinclair requires all of its stations to air. This one came in mid-August in response to ongoing pressure for Congress to do something, anything, about gun violence, after more than 30 people were killed in less than 24 hours in two mass shooting incidents, in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. It was another segment from chief political commentator Boris Epshteyn, coming straight out of the 1990s. In it, Epshteyn argued that children must not be exposed to the “gratuitous violence” of video games and movies, and that the “impact of violent media on the psyche of our youth” has to be a part of preventing mass shootings. Media Matters found that the segment has aired on at least 28 stations in 26 states. One of the cities it aired in: El Paso. There is zero evidence that video games or movies have anything to do with gun massacres. As opposed to, you know, guns.
August was chock-full of Sinclair spewing conservative gun nonsense into viewers’ homes, including another must-run segment from Epshteyn in which he called for “giving heavy consideration to mandating armed guards in schools.” Sebastian Gorka appeared earlier in the month on the weekly Sinclair show America This Week, on which he compared gun regulation to the Holocaust, because of course he did. And a gun violence “researcher” called John Lott appeared on a Sinclair station right after the shootings to lie about the one in El Paso, saying it occurred in a gun-free zone where “the victims weren’t allowed to defend themselves.”
While Sinclair has been low-key shilling for the NRA, it’s also been out-and-out campaigning for Donald Trump. About 20 of the stations posted “news stories” about the new “Keep America Great” hat for sale on the Trump campaign’s website, complete with links to the online store. Because that’s “news.”