Sinclair appears to be scaling back its political commentary.
One of the country’s largest owners of broadcast stations is ending its must-run opinion segments from former special assistant to President Trump and Sinclair commentator Boris Epshteyn. The company is moving the right-wing personality from his role as Sinclair’s chief political analyst to a “sales-focused role with the company,” according to a report from NBC News’ Claire Atkinson.
I’m thankful to be a part of @WeAreSinclair and to have produced poignant and insightful commentary for these last two plus years.
I look forward to continuing to work with this great company.
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) December 11, 2019
Sinclair has required its 193 local affiliates to broadcast Epshteyn’s Bottom Line with Boris segments that often mirrored Pres. Trump’s statements on everything from immigration, to the media, to his political opponents.
Perhaps the most controversial Bottom Line segment was Epshteyn referring to Hispanic immigration as an “invasion.” Following the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017, Epshteyn cooked up a segment defending Pres. Trump’s reference to white supremacist rally participants as “very fine people.”
The company had to post a tweet stating that Epshteyn’s opinion did not represent the company’s views and that it is “committed to fair, unbiased journalism across our stations nationwide.”
While Sinclair’s broadcast news operation is known for its conservative slant, the company does feature a progressive commentator in Ameshia Cross. Her opinion segments are coming to an end as well.
Cross worked on Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and was hired in January 2019 as a way of providing balance on Sinclair stations.
“We have to shine a light on our value proposition every quarter hour, in every newscast. Therefore, we will be expanding our local investigative journalism footprint in our daily newscasts,” Sinclair wrote in a Wednesday statement to staff. “We are excited to dedicate more time in our newscasts to report on critical and relevant issues. To allot additional airtime for this storytelling, we will be ending the commentary segments this Friday, Dec. 13, featuring Ameshia Cross, and Boris Epshteyn.”
A Maryland-based company, some of Sinclair’s local investigative reporting includes their award-winning Project Baltimore special, which was a piece that dove into a grade fixing scandal in Maryland public schools.