Sebastian Gorka is officially bringing his anti-Muslim commentary to Sinclair stations across the country

The former Trump aide isn’t renewing his Fox News contract, instead increasing his presence at Sinclair

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Sebastian Gorka, a D.C. swamp creature with barely a degree of separation from a Nazi-linked group, will no longer be a Fox News contributor -- but the public can still find his bigoted, anti-Muslim commentary on local Sinclair Broadcast Group stations around the country.

After briefly serving as an adviser to President Donald Trump in 2017, Gorka parlayed his White House role into a new job as a Fox News contributor. On March 3, The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr broke the news that Gorka was not renewing his contributor contract with Fox. Gorka told Barr, “I decided not to renew my contract since I have a new nationally syndicated radio show and a position with Sinclair TV which obviated a new arrangement with FNC.”

The Sinclair role that Gorka is referencing has been publicly confirmed for only about a month: In February, Gorka appeared as part of Sinclair’s special programming for the State of the Union address and was identified as a Sinclair contributor.

But the virulently anti-Muslimnational security expert” was making appearances on Sinclair news programming long before then. In 2017, about a month before he signed his Fox contract, Gorka participated in a gun violence town hall for Sinclair’s Washington, D.C., station WJLA and made headlines for saying he believed “Black Africans” were killing each other “by the bushel.”

Last March, he appeared in a nationally aired news package produced by Sinclair reporter Kristine Frazao about the so-called “deep state.” Around the same time, he participated in a discussion about “the deep state” that also featured Frank Gaffney, leader of an anti-Muslim extremist group, on the Sinclair-affiliated The Armstrong Williams Show.

Gorka has also hosted at least two special programs that ran on Sinclair-controlled local news stations. In March 2018, Gorka hosted a special called The Rise of Terrorism: A Clash of Cultures, which aired on numerous Sinclair stations. In that program, footage labeled as “ISIS propaganda” and shots of terror attacks are followed by Gorka asking viewers, “Can the teachings of Islam and western values ever be reconciled? Is it possible for the waves of refugees arriving in the west to assimilate and coexist peacefully?” At one point, b-roll footage is shown of a protest sign that says “Rapefugees.”

In November, he hosted another 30-minute special -- this time fearmongering about socialism. The program began with stylized footage of a hammer and sickle being forged in flames and then clips of speeches by Democratic socialists Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Virginia state Del. Lee Carter, much of it set to ominous music. Gorka spent the majority of the program discussing the history of various regimes across the globe, framed to show what happens when socialism goes wrong.

Despite these numerous appearances, Gorka’s relationship with Sinclair wasn’t publicly addressed until very recently -- including on his own Twitter account, where he frequently promotes his media appearances. He didn’t appear to list the role in his account bio until some time after the town hall appearance last month. And two previous Media Matters requests sent to Sinclair representatives about Gorka’s role at the media company were not answered. (It is uncommon for Fox News contributors to simultaneously hold positions at other media outlets.)

Now that Gorka has finally made his move to Sinclair official, viewers around the country can unfortunately expect even more anti-Muslim extremism creeping into their local newscasts. Sinclair is already known for its near-daily “Terrorism Alert Desk” segments, which actively reinforce far-right, xenophobic narratives about terrorism and focus heavily on stories involving Islam in any way.

Gorka has already appeared in at least six Sinclair national news packages in 2019, mostly discussing stories related to ISIS or immigration:

  • A February 21 segment about an American woman who regrets marrying an ISIS fighter
  • A February 18 segment about captured ISIS fighters
  • A February 1 segment about the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients in immigration negotiations
  • A January 25 segment about the arrest of Trump confidant Roger Stone
  • A January 17 segment about global terror attacks
  • A January 4 segment about Democrats in Congress and Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) comments about impeaching Trump

Gorka’s move to Sinclair also helps solidify the local news conglomerate as a media safe space for Fox News castoffs. Former Fox co-host Eric Bolling -- who also appeared in the February State of the Union special -- is now a “Sinclair political anchor” as well as a host on conservative BlazeTV. Bolling recently interviewed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at CPAC on behalf of Sinclair, and he hosts an ongoing town hall series about the opioid crisis. He left Fox News in 2017 amid reports he sent images of genitalia to multiple coworkers. James Rosen, a Sinclair investigative reporter, also previously worked at Fox News before leaving in January 2018 amid multiple sexual harassment reports.