For the second time in as many weeks, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s right-leaning politics took a hit on national TV Sunday—this time with Baltimore Sun media writer David Zurawik panning the group for giving former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn more airtime.
A guest on the CNN's Reliable Sources, Zurawik said Epshteyn’s commentaries, which run across the group, “come as close to classic propaganda as I think I’ve seen in close to 30 years of covering local TV and national TV.”
“They are outrageous,” he said. You can watch the video of Zurawik's appearance here.
Zurawik’s comments stem from Sinclair’s decision to triple the airtime Epshteyn gets as the group’s chief political analyst. His must-run “Bottom Line with Boris” commentaries will now run eight to nine times a week on all Sinclair stations, according to Zurawik, versus the three times a week they have aired since Sinclair hired Epshteyn in April.
While industry critics have long panned Sinclair for having a political slant, the issue is getting increasing attention in mainstream media as the company’s $3.9 billion deal to acquire Tribune Media works its way through the federal approval process. Under the deal, Sinclair would reach 72% of U.S. households, giving it a near national footprint.
Zurawik's CNN appearance comes two weeks after John Oliver devoted nearly 20 minutes of his HBO show to the potential implications of the “most influential media company that you’ve never heard of” getting bigger with a Tribune acquisition.
Oliver also blasted the group for using local TV to air features like Epshteyn’s commentaries. If the Tribune merger is approved, Sinclair would reach 2.2 million households per night in its most-watched weeknight newscasts, more than any Fox News primetime show, according to the segment.