(Getty/Mandel Ngan/AP/Steve Ruark)

New "must-run" from Sinclair defends the Trump administration's use of tear gas on migrant children

The commentary came from the company’s chief political analyst Boris Epshteyn, himself a former Trump adviser


Rachel Leah
November 28, 2018 8:38PM (UTC)

As footage circulated of migrant women and children choking on tear gas, media outrage has mounted against Border Patrol's response to asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday. However, Sinclair Broadcast Group required its local news outlets to air a segment defending the Trump administration and the use of tear gas against migrant families, including women and children, according to multiple outlets. The "must-run" commentary came from the company’s chief political analyst Boris Epshteyn, himself a former adviser to President Donald Trump

"The migrant crisis on our southern border has greatly escalated," Epshteyn says on the "Bottom Line with Boris" segment. "This past weekend, the United States was forced to temporarily close a major point of entry in San Diego, California, in response to hundreds of migrants attempting to storm the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes of claiming asylum."

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"Dozens of migrants attacked U.S. border enforcement by throwing rocks and bottles," he continued. "Ultimately, American authorities had to use tear gas to stop the attacks."

Epshteyn went on to call out "some on the left" and named Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, specifically, for criticizing Trump, who he claims stood up "for our men and women in uniform and for our national security."

"The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country – period," Epshteyn's aggressive defense continued. "Our border must remain intact and secure. It is not a partisan position to believe that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. However, it unfortunately appears that there are many on the left who believe it is wrong to defend our country and abide by the rule of law. I would bet that many of those same people live behind walls and locked doors but do not want to afford the same benefit to our country as a whole."

Epshteyn finished his monologue saying that "the United States of America should not and cannot be intimidated by those willing to use force to get into our country illegally," even though many of the migrants in the caravan are seeking asylum through legal avenues.

As part of Sinclair's notorious "must-run" coverage, Epshteyn's commentary will now "be forcibly aired, often spliced into local news coverage, on an estimated 100 Sinclair-owned or -operated news stations," Media Matters reported. "According to the iQ media database, the segment has already aired on stations in at least 24 states."

Earlier this year, Sinclair dictated its local outlets to air another "must-run" from Epshteyn covering the Trump administration's family separation policy, in which he minimized the horror at the border by claiming that the president's actions had proved "that it is possible to balance humanity with security for our borders."

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"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," he says in the spot. "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."

In another "must-run" segment, Epshteyn defended the president for his comments blaming "both sides" after the white nationalist rallies and violence in Charlottesville in 2017.

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There are many other examples, according to Media Matters, where Epshteyn's "must-run" segments, broadcasted all over the country. Although categorized as journalism, they mirrored near, if not outright Trump administration talking points. Yet Epshteyn countered the depiction, telling The Daily Beast in April: "I’m not doing anybody’s bidding. I’m on my own when I’m on TV. What I’m doing is not driven by the White House, the president, or anyone but me."


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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Boris Epshteyn Donald Trump Media Migrant Caravan Propaganda Sinclair Broadcast Group

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