Media Matters for America, a progressive watchdog organization, and others reported that the commentary was among the so-called “must run” segments produced by Sinclair for its network stations. Sinclair, the largest operator of local TV stations in the country, declined to comment.
Sinclair has faced criticism for pushing a conservative agenda on its member stations.
“These are local stations that advertise themselves as affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, and draw off the credibility of local anchors to present themselves as part of the community,” Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, wrote on Twitter.
In a subsequent segment this week, Mr. Epshteyn criticized Twitter for banning the right-wing activist Laura Loomer after she called Representative-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota “pro-Sharia” and “anti-Jewish,” according to Mediaite. Last year, Ms. Loomer was also banned from Uber and Lyft following several anti-Muslim tweets.
Some Sinclair employees have described the segments as one-sided and poorly made. Last year, journalists at KOMO, a Sinclair station in Seattle, said they received reporting instructions from the company that seemed politically motivated.
At the time, Scott Livingston, the company’s vice president for news, defended against the suggestion of right-leaning bias.
“We work very hard to be objective and fair and be in the middle,” he said. “I think maybe some other news organizations may be to the left of center, and we work very hard to be in the center.”
Earlier this year, Timothy Burke, the video director at Deadspin, stitched together a widely shared video of dozens of local news anchors at Sinclair stations reciting the same script, voicing concern over “fake stories” and “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”