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Pam Vogel

Author ››› Pam Vogel
  • Sinclair and the midterms: Tennessee edition

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    If you live in a midsize city or battleground state, you are now more likely than ever to see propaganda bolstering President Donald Trump and conservative spin on your local news -- just in time for the 2018 election season -- thanks to conservative media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group.

    Media Matters has identified communities that will see competitive congressional midterm races and that have Sinclair-owned or -operated news stations. Many Sinclair stations are already airing national news programming with a conservative slant, and they will be ramping up coverage of their local races.

    We’ve already tackled Nevada. Now, we’re taking a look at Tennessee.

    Key 2018 race

    • Senate: Tennessee has an open Senate seat this year, and the race is considered a toss-up by Cook Political Report as of publication. The current front-runners are U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat.

    Sinclair stations in state

    WTVC (NewsChannel 9) and WFLI (The CW) in Chattanooga

    WZTV (Fox 17), WUXP (My30), and WNAB (CW58) in Nashville

    • Sinclair-owned WZTV (Fox 17) also regularly airs at least some of Sinclair’s “must-run” content, including nationally produced news packages, fearmongering “Terrorism Alert Desk” updates, and the weekly show Full Measure.
    • Sinclair-owned WUXP (My30) shares a main studio address with Fox 17 and re-airs at least some of Fox 17’s local news programming.
    • Nashville Broadcasting-owned WNAB (The CW58) “receives certain services from an affiliation of Sinclair Broadcast Group” and also shares a main studio address with Fox 17 and My30. It does not appear to regularly air news programming.

    Coming soon: WREG (News Channel 3) in Memphis

    • WREG (News Channel 3) in Memphis is currently owned by Tribune Media but will soon be owned by Sinclair if the company’s pending acquisition of up to 42 Tribune stations is approved.

    What else you need to know

    Sinclair’s political action committee gave a total of $4,500 to Blackburn’s Senate campaign committee in 2017. Blackburn currently serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and she chairs its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology -- an important subcommittee for Sinclair.

    Are there Sinclair stations near you?

    Use Media Matters’ interactive map at FindSinclair.com to learn more.

    Graphics by Sarah Wasko.

  • Sinclair and the midterms: Nevada edition

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    If you live in a midsize city or battleground state, you are now more likely than ever to see propaganda bolstering President Donald Trump and conservative spin on your local news -- just in time for the 2018 election season -- thanks to conservative media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group.

    Media Matters has identified communities that will see competitive congressional midterm races and that have Sinclair-owned or -operated news stations. Many Sinclair stations are already airing national news programming with a conservative slant, and they will be ramping up coverage of their local races.

    First, we’re looking at Nevada.

    Key 2018 races

    • Senate: The contest between incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller and Democrat challenger Rep. Jacky Rosen is rated a toss-up by Cook Political Report as of publication.
    • House: Nevada’s third congressional district (NV-3) south of Las Vegas is an open race rated as “lean Democratic” by Cook Political Report as of publication.  
    • Governor: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is not eligible to run in 2018. The election is thus an open race, and it was rated a toss-up by Cook Political Report as of publication.  

    Sinclair stations in state

    KSNV (NBC 3) and KVCW (The CW) in Las Vegas

    KRXI (Fox 11), KRNV (NBC News 4) and KAME (My21) in Reno

    • Sinclair owns and operates KRXI (Fox 11). A Media Matters search of the iQ media database found that Fox 11 aired the scripted promotional segment narrated by Bill Frankmore and Melissa Carlson at least six times between March 23 and March 30.
    • Sinclair also provides operations support for two other stations in Reno, KRNV (NBC News 4) and KAME (a MyNetwork affiliate branded as My21), through shared service agreements. All three Reno stations also share a studio space, and My21 does not appear to have its own website, instead posting its schedule on the Fox 11 site.

    KENV in Elko

    • KENV is licensed to serve Elko -- considered part of the Salt Lake City, UT, media market -- but serves as a semi-satellite to KRNV in Reno, meaning that it airs some of the same news programs but may have different branding. It also shares a studio space with KRXI, KRNV, and KAME in Reno. 

    What else you need to know

    Sinclair’s political action committee gave $1,500 to Heller’s re-election campaign committee in September 2015. Heller serves on the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, including on its subcommittee related to communications and technology -- an important subcommittee for Sinclair.

    In January and February press releases, Heller touted Sinclair, among other businesses, for giving “their employees special bonuses and raises” after the passage of the Trump/GOP tax law.

    Here’s footage of NBC 3 airing a March “Bottom Line with Boris” segment in which former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn downplayed a potential Democrat wave in 2018 midterms:

    Are there Sinclair stations near you?

    Use Media Matters’ interactive map at FindSinclair.com to learn more.

    Graphics by Sarah Wasko. 

    UPDATE: This post has been updated to include the Nevada gubernatorial race. 

  • Sinclair personality faces boycott after saying he wants to “ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass” 

    Jamie Allman’s abusive tactics may finally be catching up with him

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    UPDATE: Asked about Allman’s comments about David Hogg by The Washington Post, a spokesperson for Sinclair said, “We have accepted Mr. Allman’s resignation, and his show has been cancelled.”

    ORIGINAL POST:

    Conservative TV and radio host Jamie Allman, Sinclair’s primary local news personality in St. Louis, MO, is now facing a boycott after tweeting on March 26 that he wants to “ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass.” The horrific attack on the Parkland, FL, high school shooting survivor is just the latest from Allman, who has a history of engaging in unhinged online abuse and hateful commentary. 

    On April 6, local alt-weekly the Riverfront Times reported on a threatening tweet that had been circulating around social media in which Allman stated that he’d “been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow . Busy working . Preparing .”

    Allman hosts both a morning radio show and a nightly news show called The Allman Report on KDNL (ABC 30), the St. Louis TV news station owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that, in response to Allman’s tweet, state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) called for an advertiser boycott of Allman’s show -- and some advertisers have now discontinued their spots on his radio show.

    Allman’s disgusting attack on the high school student echoes obsessive targeting of Hogg by far-right conspiracy theorists and should be no surprise to local viewers and others familiar with Allman’s history of online harassment and abusive rhetoric. Media Matters first documented Allman’s extremism in October, noting his promotion of fringe conspiracy theories, use of anti-immigrant slurs and race-baiting language on air, and frequent misogynist tweets. Many of these examples predated his hiring by Sinclair -- but none of this seems to matter to the local TV news giant.

    In fact, in 2015, the Sinclair station began running what it calls Allman’s “non-traditional newscast” in place of any straightforward local news broadcast, airing each edition three times per weekday during time slots typically reserved for news updates.  

    And Allman has discussed Hogg twice on his Sinclair news show since his March 26 tweet. On the March 30 edition of The Allman Report, he tried to make a case for attacking the teenagers, arguing that Hogg “can’t have it both ways” and had to choose between being a “kid” or being “a revolutionary.” Allman went on to accuse the Parkland students of “grabbing [their] blanket” whenever they were criticized.

    On April 3, Allman again mocked Parkland students for their opposition to some heightened security measures at the school, such as being required to use clear backpacks. At one point he imitated a student whining, “This place feels like a prison!” Allman also zeroed in on Hogg specifically and suggested it was “very confusing” that Hogg would advocate for the right to carry different types of backpacks but not different types of guns.

    Sinclair was largely silent in response to the publication of Media Matters’ research on Allman last October. Allman, however, locked down his Twitter account briefly before unlocking it to tweet bonkers, sometimes threatening messages at this author for an hour straight, between 2 and 3 a.m. one morning. The tweets included photoshopped images of me, images of Carrie (from the eponymous film) covered in blood, and claims I hate my father and have a drinking problem.

    Allman has now locked down his Twitter account again and, according to the Riverfront Times, the account was silent yesterday after spending two days retweeting supporters in defiance. Because I had reported the account previously, I received a vague update from Twitter yesterday that Allman’s account has now been found in violation of the platform’s rules against abusive behavior.

  • Sinclair's Boris Epshteyn defends his commentary and compares himself to a doctor in a “must-run” segment

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Sinclair Broadcast Group is defending itself with a brand-new “must-run” segment amid public backlash over a series of eerily similar anti-media promotional segments that Sinclair instructed its local news anchors to produce, packaging it as an “anchor delivered journalistic responsibility message.”

    In March, CNN’s Brian Stelter obtained internal documents Sinclair sent to its local TV news stations requiring them to film and air short promotional segments decrying “biased and false news” and accusing unnamed mainstream media figures of bias -- an echo of President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the press. The ads began airing on March 23, and days later, Deadspin’s Timothy Burke edited many of the similar segments into an creepy viral video that made Sinclair’s propagandistic intentions all too clear.

    Widespread coverage of the segments culminated earlier this week when cable news programs started discussing the videos, likely leading to Trump himself tweeting multiple times in Sinclair’s defense.

    Sinclair employees are speaking out in frustration, saying they felt the scripted segments “advanced the company’s agenda at the expense of their own credibility.” Company executives are now defending themselves too -- largely by attempting to redirect the conversation to the credibility of other news organizations. Sinclair CEO David Smith told New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi that print media writ large is “so left wing as to be meaningless dribble” and has “no credibility.” (Smith has attacked other media outlets in the past, echoing similar tactics used by Roger Ailes at Fox News to drive a wedge between viewers and other sources of information.)

    In a lengthy internal document that Stelter obtained this week, Sinclair leadership asserted that critical coverage of Sinclair was “misleading” and “often defamatory” and called the scripted segments a “well-researched journalistic initiative.”  

    Sinclair’s chief political analyst, former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, is also defending Sinclair with a combination of similar attacks on other news outlets (specifically and tellingly against CNN, the outlet that broke the story of Sinclair’s latest scripted segments) and gaslight-y, vague arguments against media bias. In his morning newsletter, Epshteyn wrote, “I sincerely hope those bashing the message read by Sinclair station anchors are not really, as it seems, on the side of bias and false news.”

    Now Sinclair is returning to its local news airwaves to escalate its defense. Rather than hear updates about local school board meetings or community events, audiences tuning into Sinclair-owned or -operated stations across the country will instead be treated to this diatribe from Epshteyn. He doesn't address the scripted segments, but rather focuses on defending his own commentary segments:

    BORIS EPSHTEYN: I want to talk to you about my job. I am in the analysis, opinion and commentary business. Yes, I worked for President Trump during the 2016 campaign. I worked on the inaugural and I was at the White House. I was also on the McCain campaign in 2008 and was a surrogate for the Romney campaign in 2012. Some critics would have you believe that my experience somehow disqualifies me from providing you with my analysis and commentary.

    But here’s a question: Wouldn’t you want someone talking to you about politics only if he had actually worked in politics and knew the people he was talking about? I know that I would want someone giving opinions about medicine only if they were an actual doctor. In terms of my analysis playing during your local news, as you see, my segments are very clearly marked as commentary. The same cannot be said for cable and broadcast news hosts who inject their opinions and bias into news coverage all the time without drawing any lines between them.

    Here is the bottom line: I am proud to be the chief political analyst at Sinclair. My goal with every segment is to tell you facts which you may not already know and then my take on those facts. I am thrilled to keep sharing the truth and my perspective with you, day in and day out. Thank you for tuning in.

  • Here are the "manipulative" ads Sinclair forced local anchors to read, now airing across the country

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Weeks after CNN reported that Sinclair was requiring its local anchors to film promotional segments attacking the “irresponsible, one-sided stories plaguing our country,” the widely lambasted segments have begun to air on stations around the country.

    Earlier in March, CNN obtained internal documents sent to Sinclair Broadcast Group’s local TV news stations requiring them to film and air short segments decrying “biased and false news” and accusing mainstream media figures of bias. In the script obtained by CNN, Sinclair reporters focused on mainstream press, attacking unnamed "national media outlets" for publishing "fake stories." At points, the script appears to echo President Donald Trump's attacks on press with cries of "fake news." (Though the final version of the script, as NPR noted in an interview with a Sinclair executive about the promotional spots, no longer included "the word national ... coupled to the word media.") Reporters at some of the Sinclair-owned or -operated stations shared concerns with CNN’s Brian Stelter, calling the corporate-dictated segment requirements “inappropriate” and “manipulative.”

    Apart from disparaging statements about non-Sinclair news outlets, the ads mostly contain trite and inoffensive statements supporting responsible, “balanced” journalism -- and that’s part of the problem. As Stelter noted, “On its face, some of the language is not controversial. But that's precisely why some staffers were so troubled by it. The promo script, they say, belies Sinclair management's actual agenda to tilt reporting to the right.” One staffer told CNN they “felt like a POW recording a message.”

    A Media Matters search of the iQ media database found that between March 23 and March 27, at least 62 Sinclair stations reaching 29 states and D.C. have now run their own versions of the scripted segment. In the clips, local news anchors say things like, “I’m concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” The Sinclair employees also largely seemed to follow the other reported instructions delivered from the Sinclair corporate offices, such as wearing politically neutral colors (e.g. not red or blue).

    Here are just three examples, from stations in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Nevada:

    WPEC (CBS 12) in West Palm Beach, FL

    WHP (CBS 21) in Harrisburg, PA

    KRXI (Fox 11) in Reno, NV

    Here is a full transcript from one of the segments (there are slight variations among the videos).

    Hi, I’m [name] with [station]. Our greatest responsibility is to serve our communities. I am extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [station] produces, but I’m concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.

    The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.

    At [station], it is our responsibility to report and pursue the truth. We understand the truth is neither politically left nor right. Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility now more than ever. But we are human, and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair, please reach out through our [station] website by clicking on “Content Concerns.” We value your comments and we will respond back to you.

    We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced, and factual. We consider it our honor and privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day. Thank you for watching, and we appreciate your feedback.

    These segments are Sinclair’s latest attempt to sneak pro-Trump messaging into local media outlets. The media company’s chief political analyst, former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, routinely echoes his former boss in attacking mainstream media outlets he believes are too critical of the president. And in a segment that aired across Sinclair news stations last March, Sinclair’s vice president for news, Scott Livingston, read from a virtually identical promotional script.

    Sinclair is now well-known for its history of abusing public trust to air right-wing spin and promote xenophobia on local news shows, and the company is currently awaiting federal approval to finalize a massive acquisition that will help it spread its conservative propaganda further across the country.

    The corporate promotional segments have aired (very often, more than once) on at least the following local TV news stations:

  • Sinclair's Boris Epshteyn: A pro-Trump Republican struggling in Pennsylvania is actually good news for Trump

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Boris Epshteyn, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s chief shill for President Donald Trump, was definitely not worried about the special election in Pennsylvania yesterday, and he is not worried now that the results remain too close to call. In the alternate universe Sinclair and Epshteyn promote to local news viewers across the country, the brewing upset is actually good for Republicans and Trump.

    Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, which voted for Trump by a 20-point margin in 2016, held a special election last night to replace former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned last year. The race should have been an easy win for the GOP in a reliably red district, but as of publication, it remains officially "too close to call," with Democrat Conor Lamb leading Republican Rick Saccone by a tiny margin.

    But Boris Epshteyn, the No. 1 Trump propagandist at conservative local TV news giant Sinclair Broadcast Group and a former Trump aide, thinks that this outcome is somehow good for Republicans and doesn’t reflect poorly on Trump -- and he wants local news audiences to see it the same way.

    Epshteyn kicked off election day with a pre-emptively dismissive note in his morning email newsletter, arguing, “An election in one district in Pennsylvania in March does not indicate how the rest of that state, let alone the country, is going to vote in November.”

    As the results were coming in last night, Epshteyn took to Twitter to declare the close race “already a good result for the Republican Party” and ask, “Where is that Democrat passion everyone is talking about?” His tweets quickly met the fate of many scorching takes: a high ratio of mocking replies from other users.

    (Epshteyn attributed the mass mocking of his election analysis to “triggered” liberals upset that he was “hitting a nerve and calling it right.”)

    This morning, Epshteyn continued his attempts to spin the Pennsylvania results with a quick note in his newsletter to tell his fans that the election is just not a big deal:


    Breakfast with Boris newsletter

    Epshteyn also promoted his live appearances this morning on several Sinclair stations in Maryland, Ohio, Florida, and even Pennsylvania to talk about the results. They were even worse. In his morning spot on WBFF/Fox 45, Sinclair’s flagship station in Baltimore, he argued that Saccone had actually benefited from a “Trump bump” because the race was too close to call instead of a blowout for Lamb:

    BORIS EPSHTEYN: Saccone was down by about six points going into the final weekend. Now it’s tied. I don’t see how this is a negative for the Republicans. I see it as a positive.

    TOM RODGERS (ANCHOR): Well, everyone keeps going -- saying, “Well, look, Trump won it by 20 points.” So because Trump was campaigning for him --

    EPSHTEYN: Sure.

    RODGERS: -- do you see the connection there that says maybe Trump hurt him? Or do you see it that Trump helped him with the election when we’re looking at Saccone’s votes?

    EPSHTEYN: Well, the president really made one true appearance where he endorsed and helped Saccone. Overall, you’re right. Saccone was down by six points, the president came in, now it’s tied. You’re seeing a Trump bump of about six points. But it’s very different from having Donald Trump on the ballot in 2016 to now having a special election where he’s not on the ballot and made one appearance. The two are not the same at all.

    Epshteyn has now also released online a "must-run" segment focused on the Pennsylvania special election. In the clip, he argues that the race is "not necessarily" any "indication of a Democrat wave for the midterms in November," and reminds viewers that "the president was not on the ballot."

    Many may have missed Epshteyn’s weird, transparently pro-Trump defenses of the election outcome so far -- especially considering what little interest the public seems to have in his takes. But his latest Trump propaganda missive will be force-fed to viewers across the country now, as Sinclair mandates that all its news stations air Epshteyn’s desperate spin.

  • There is no audience for Boris Epshteyn's pro-Trump propaganda, so Sinclair forces it on people

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    For nearly a year now, Sinclair Broadcast Group has been mandating that its local news stations air commentary segments from former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn. It’s essentially force-feeding local audiences Trump propaganda between community news and weather -- and the numbers show no one would watch it otherwise.

    Sinclair is a corporate giant that owns or operates around 190 local TV news stations across the country, and it’s been quietly forcing its stations to air nationally produced right-wing spin for years. But when it hired Epshteyn, fresh from a stint in the Trump administration, to serve as its “chief political analyst,” it was only a matter of time before everyone was paying attention. Numerous media and business reporters highlighted Sinclair’s twofold plan for growing local right-wing news: using the company’s still-pending acquisition of Tribune Media stations to further expand its reach across the country (with its potentially unethical relationship with the Trump administration and its appointees paving the way), and hiring Epshteyn as a new, Trump-aligned star for “must-run” national segments.

    After I spent the last 11 months in the Sinclair rabbit hole with these reporters, one thing has become awkwardly, painfully obvious to me: Sinclair is forcing its stations to run Epshteyn’s segments because no one cares otherwise. There is no organic audience actively seeking out his pro-Trump commentary.

    At the time it hired Epshteyn, Sinclair touted its new analyst as providing “unique perspective to the political conversation” that would “better inform and empower our viewers.” It also made the decision months later to up his airtime, though the company declined to say why.

    I watch each new “Bottom Line with Boris” must-run segment on his YouTube channel, usually shortly after it’s posted. On YouTube, I alone account for a not-insignificant portion of his total viewership, which is usually less than 50.


    YouTube screenshot

    On occasion, one of his segments makes the jump into thousands of views; those are usually the ones I or another media researcher or reporter decided to write about.

    Things are not going much better for Epshteyn on Facebook. He has hosted a handful of Facebook Live sessions, and on more than one occasion, for a moment or two, I’ve been the only person joining him for the ride. I’ve spent collective minutes intently watching, all by myself or with a handful of other random people, as Epshteyn explains his latest video or tries to end the video before someone off camera tells him to keep going.


    Facebook screenshot

    His typical Facebook posts aren’t getting much engagement either. While the videos of his segments sometimes garner a few thousand views each on Facebook, that number is likely higher than the YouTube view counts because of algorithm and platform differences like Facebook’s use of video auto-play in newsfeeds. The videos typically don’t receive high engagement beyond views (i.e., “likes” or comments) and his non-video posts often show similar minimal engagement. And often the comments his posts do manage to garner are from users explaining why they disagree with him -- or more crudely explaining exactly how they feel about Epshteyn or Sinclair.


    Facebook screenshot


    Facebook screenshot

    He doesn’t have fans engaging with him on other social media either. The official Bottom Line with Boris Instagram account has 91 followers as of this publication. He has about 30,000 Twitter followers, but most of his tweets seem to get extremely low engagement for a verified user with his own almost-daily news platform. He also sends out a morning email newsletter every day. I read it; I’m not convinced anyone else does.

    There are a couple theories about why Epshteyn’s political commentary just isn’t landing, and in reality it’s probably some combination of both: His delivery is monotonous and pretty uninspiring, and his opinions are predictable and add nothing original to public conversation.

    Epshteyn’s demeanor as he delivers his commentary to viewers was perhaps best described by HBO's John Oliver last July, when he described Epshteyn as “a rejected extra from The Sopranos in a J.C. Penney's tie whose voice sounds like Sylvester Stallone with a mouthful of bees.” Epshteyn somehow manages to be incredibly boring on screen even though behind the scenes he reportedly terrorized green rooms during his time as a Trump spokesperson.

    Beyond the question of charisma, Epshteyn doesn’t really make any compelling or interesting points. For a chief political analyst, his takes are notably unoriginal. At best, he regurgitates Trump talking points or touts some vague, imaginary bipartisan ideals that involve being nicer to Trump. At worst, he defends the most absurd, racist things Trump does. These are not exactly principled positions.

    But the worst part about Epshteyn’s almost-daily segments isn’t his lack of charm or compelling analysis, or their propagandistic nature -- it’s that Sinclair viewers are subjected to his commentary regardless.

    Sinclair is forcibly creating an audience where none exists by requiring its news stations to air Epshteyn’s segments. Even though only about 25 to 50 people seem to care about his commentary enough to seek it out on YouTube, it’s still reaching about 39 percent of U.S. TV households -- and could soon reach an unprecedented 72 percent.

    Propaganda doesn’t work because people genuinely love reading or watching it -- it works when it’s repeated enough to just become an acceptable part of everyday life. Like, for example, when an awkward stranger shouts at you after the local weather every night about what a great job his former boss, the president, is doing.  

  • Sinclair definitely doesn't want anyone to think that Trump's White House is in a state of crisis

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    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Boris Epshteyn, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s chief political analyst and a former Trump administration aide, would like you to know that everything is fine at the Trump White House -- and if you hear otherwise, blame the media.

    From today’s “must-run” “Bottom Line with Boris” commentary segment, posted with the headline, “Don’t buy into the media’s portrayal of a White House in chaos”:

    BORIS EPSHTEYN: Have there been a lot of staff changes in the Trump White House? Sure. A lot of that is because the president is not a lifelong politician. He did not have scores of people riding his political coattails like almost every other president in recent history. The White House is a tough place to work. I can tell you firsthand that it is a pressure cooker. Is everything always smooth and perfect in this White House? Of course not. But is it at your job? Here’s the bottom line: Just because someone in media says that there’s a meltdown in Washington, D.C., does not make that true. As you’re taking in news and political coverage, do not buy into the hysteria.

    The segment does not delve into exactly what’s caused such widespread reports of an administration in mayhem, nor mention any of the reasons there has been unprecedented staff turnover, such as pressure stemming from an ongoing federal investigation into collusion or reports of serial domestic abuse by a staffer.

    This embarrassing segment will now be forcibly aired, often spliced into local news coverage, on more than 100 Sinclair-owned or operated news stations throughout the country as part of the media giant’s infamous “must-run” lineup.

    Sinclair is known for its history of injecting right-wing spin into local newscasts, most notably with these “must-run” segments. The segments have included blatant (and sometimes embarrassing) pro-Trump propaganda missives from Epshteyn since last spring. In the last six months, Epshteyn has used his “Bottom Line With Boris” segments to attack members of the press for being too mean to the president, praise seemingly every move Trump makes, and offer jaw-droppingly ill-timed defenses of Trump and his staff members. Most recently, he developed an entire segment arguing that Trump’s authoritarian dream of a “military parade” was a good idea.

    Thanks to the Trump Federal Communications Commission, pro-Trump propaganda like this could soon air on even more local TV news stations and in major cities across the country, reaching 72 percent of U.S. television households.