Sinclair to require more 'must run' pieces for former Trump official Epshteyn

Sinclair to require more 'must run' pieces for former Trump official Epshteyn
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Sinclair Broadcasting is giving more exposure to political commentator and former Trump administration official Boris Epshteyn by increasing its number of "must run" segments at its 173 local affiliates across the country.

Sinclair will now require its stations to run nine Epshteyn commentaries per week, an increase from the three per week requirement since the 34-year-old Russian-born former investment banker and attorney joined in April.

Politico first reported the Sinclair plans for Epshteyn.

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In addition to an increase in commentaries, Epshteyn is also expected to conduct interviews with Washington, D.C., political figures.

Many Sinclair stations exist in the Midwestern swing states key to President Trump's victory last November and in some cases reach more viewers than CNN, a network Trump has consistently attacked more than any other as "fake news."

Comedian John Oliver addressed Sinclair's corporate office requirement to run these segments on his HBO show "Last Week Tonight" on July 2, noting that Sinclair's alleged right-wing bias would inject conservative views into local news broadcasts.

“Sinclair content tilts noticeably conservative,” Oliver said, adding there wouldn't be an issue if “the opinions were confined to the commentary or the ad breaks.”

The FCC is currently reviewing a $3.9 billion deal between Sinclair and Tribune in an effort to determine if the two major media companies coming together is in the “public interest.”

Critics against the merger say such a media outlet could potentially harm the public by significantly consolidating the local news media market, where both Sinclair and Tribune own big stakes.

The FCC said the merger would slightly exceed the 39 percent national audience reach limit.

The deal would make Sinclair the largest TV station owner in the country.