Donald Trump will appear in a town hall event broadcast by the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group on Oct. 21.
Eric Bolling, America This Week host and formerly at Fox News, will moderate the one-hour event, which will take place at the White House and include an interview with Trump and questions from audience members.
Sinclair has been spotlighted for injecting right-leaning coverage and commentary on national issues into its local broadcasts since well before its “fake stories” advisory became public, making it unique in the world of broadcast television, which is less encumbered by the partisanship that marks cable networks such as Fox News Channel and MSNBC.
While other station owners typically use “must-run” segments to push station promotions, Sinclair has used required programming to push conservative-leaning stances into its local broadcasts.
“The must-runs look like they are part of the news,” said David Twedell, business manager of a local camera workers’ union in Seattle. “And they’re clearly not.”
Sinclair is the largest owner of local television stations in the country, with 173 stations in 81 broadcast markets that stretch from coast to coast, including battleground states like Ohio.
The company is owned by the family of founder Julian Sinclair Smith, and the company’s chairman, Smith’s son, David Smith, and his brothers have given the majority of their political donations to Republican causes.
During the 2016 election cycle, the brothers donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican causes, including at least $6,000 from Frederick Smith to a ‘super PAC’ supporting Trump, and $20,000 from David Smith to the National Republican Congressional Committee.
After Joe Biden defeated Trump in a battle of town-hall meetings last night, Sinclair stepped up to provide the president a more friendly environment.
“This election is one of the most important in modern history and voters are still looking for insight into the many issues that are impacting their daily lives,” said Bolling in a statement. “We aim to give Sinclair viewers the answers to their most burning questions and look forward to getting a detailed view on what the next four years would look like under President Trump.”
Last night, Trump and Biden participated in two separate town hall events on NBC and ABC, hosted by Savannah Guthrie and George Stephanopolous.
Due to their competing time slots, NBC received backlash from numerous Hollywood figures, and Trump himself — who called the network “the worst” and claimed he was being set up — though both events proceeded as scheduled.
Thursday would have been the date of the second presidential debate, which was canceled and reimagined in a virtual format when Trump contracted COVID-19 — and then ultimately canceled again when he declined to participate.
The town hall, produced by the Sinclair corporate news department, will air at 8 p.m. on Sinclair’s CW and MYNET stations across 55 markets and online.