Sinclair News' pro-Trump coverage is "classic propaganda," says veteran TV critic

David Zurawik believes that Sinclair Broadcasting is using its pull to promote a pro-Trump propagandist

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 17, 2017 5:24PM (EDT)

 (Getty/vladakela/Joe Raedle/Salon)
(Getty/vladakela/Joe Raedle/Salon)

Journalist David Zurawik, who has covered local television for roughly thirty years, is speaking out against the decision by Sinclair Broadcasting Group to purchase local news stations across the country.

In a segment on CNN on Sunday, host Brian Stelter pointed out that because Sinclair includes political coverage with Boris Epshteyn — who has worked for President Donald Trump both on his campaign and in his White House — that "it's no surprise that his 'Bottom Line' segments parrot the administration's talking points or spin stories in the president's favor."

As Zurawik pointed out, however, the problem is even bleaker than that characterization implies.

"They come as close to classic propaganda as I think I've seen in thirty years of covering local television or national television," Zurawik said. "They're outrageous! Whatever the White House says, you know, President Trump believes there was voter fraud and he sets up this commission to get data from the states and the states rightfully push back because it's very intrusive data — Boris Ephsteyn's piece on it ends with, the states should cooperate with President Trump."

After describing how the imagery used in Ephsteyn's segments only underscore their usefulness as pro-Trump propaganda, Zurawik observed that "people are getting this within the context of their 30 or 60 minute local news. So they're getting where they get their high school sports scores from, where they get their local weather from, where they get it in the context of these people that they've come to trust."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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