This week the 193 local news channels owned by The Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation 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 cruel effort to deter migrant refugees from seeking asylum in the United States.
Sinclair stations reach nearly 40% of all American homes and it is owned and operated by right-wing Trump supporters. Recently the company has been heavily criticized for forcing its news anchors to read pre-written Trump propaganda on the air in order to keep their jobs.
And this past week Sinclair has forced all of its stations to provide propaganda in support of Trump’s child separation practices and its zero tolerance immigration policies.
Former Trump spokesman Boris Epshteyn, who now works for Sinclair, prepared and read the following pro-Trump statement that was broadcast on all 193 Sinclair stations:
“Our immigration system is undeniably broken and the discourse around this topic is toxic. 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 “correct” action of signing his phony executive order this week. He doesn’t mention that the zero tolerance policy was a Trump invention, nor that Trump had lied continually over the past two weeks about his supposed inability to change the policy he had created.
In his commentary Epshteyn also failed to mention that “liberal outrage” over Trump’s zero tolerance policy has been caused by the fact that the U.S. government has been ripping infants from their mothers, locking them in cages, and saying it has no responsibility for reuniting the families it has separated.
Many older Americans don’t subscribe to cable television so the local Sinclair affiliate is their only televised source of news information. Millions of people watch their local news broadcasts with no idea that they are being deliberately targeted with state propaganda by the right-wing media.
Sinclair’s tactics of providing forced propaganda are similar to those used in autocratic states such as Hungary where identical headlines are blared across all television channels that are forced to support government policies.
When combined with state-media Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting has become a powerful force and a threat to democracy in the United States.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.