Epshteyn will serve as a commentator on political news coverage offered by Sinclair’s 173 television stations. The hire is part of Sinclair’s efforts to provide “political context that goes beyond the podium” for viewers, said Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s VP of news.
“We understand the frustration with government and traditional institutions,” Livingston said. “Mr. Epshteyn brings a unique perspective to the political conversation and will play a pivotal role in our mission to dissect the stories in the headlines and to better inform and empower our viewers.”
Epshteyn was most recently Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations for the Executive Office of President Trump. Before that he was communications director for Trump’s inaugural committee and a senior advisor to the Trump campaign.
“I greatly admire Sinclair’s mission to provide thoughtful impactful reporting throughout the country. I look forward to contributing my voice to the ongoing dialogue with the American people,” Epshteyn said.
Epshteyn left the White House last month amid reports that he had developed a contentious relationship with the producers and journalists that were key to his job arranging news media interviews for White House surrogates.
The hiring of Epshteyn will undoubtedly bring further scrutiny to the ties between the Trump administration and Sinclair Broadcast Group. The broadcaster is known for the conservative bent in its public affairs and commentary programming. In 2004, the station group drew criticism for airing the documentary “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal,” an attack on the military service record of then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, days before the 2004 presidential election.
More recently, there was a flap when Trump advisor Jared Kushner told a private business luncheon in December that Sinclair executives worked with the campaign to spread pro-Trump messages in Sinclair newscasts, which reach 81 markets in key heartland regions that supported Trump. Sinclair vehemently denied the claim, asserting that it offered equal amounts of air time for in-depth interviews to Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and that Clinton declined the invitation.
(Pictured: Boris Epshteyn, left, and Cliff Sims hosting the Trump campaign’s Facebook Live coverage of the Oct. 26 presidential debate)