Boris Epshteyn, then-special assistant to President Trump, left, passes a note to White House secretary Sean Spicer during the daily briefing on Jan. 31, 2017. (Susan Walsh/AP)

For months, Sinclair Broadcast Group fed a steady stream of news stories and commentaries favorable to conservatives and critical of liberal politicians to its many TV stations across the country, ordering them to air the segments on their local newscasts.

One piece in late October, for example, juxtaposed self-described democratic socialists Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) with marching Soviet soldiers. On the eve of the midterm elections, Sinclair’s Washington station, WJLA, aired back-to-back interviews with Eric Trump and President Trump in which they promoted Republican candidates. Democrats weren’t given a chance to reply.

But it wasn’t until Wednesday night that Sinclair seemed to have some second thoughts about its journalistic output. In a tweet from its corporate account, Sinclair distanced itself from its chief political analyst, former Trump administration communications adviser Boris Epshteyn, an enthusiastic supporter of the president.

“The opinions expressed in this segment do not reflect the views of Sinclair Broadcast Group,” the company tweeted.

The tweet was unusual for several reasons. First, Sinclair almost never shies away from frankly conservative opinions, even in the face of criticism that it is biased. Second, its tweet didn’t spell out which of Epshteyn’s commentaries it deemed unworthy of support. And third, Sinclair itself marks Epshteyn’s segments as “must-runs,” meaning stations owned by the company are required to air them during their local newscasts.

In essence, Sinclair disowned editorial material it insisted its stations had to broadcast.

People at Sinclair say the company’s tweet referred to Epshteyn’s segment on Monday supporting border agents’ use of tear gas to disperse a crowd of migrants, including women and children, who were seeking to cross from Mexico into the United States. The commentary received some criticism on social media and a smattering of media coverage after the liberal watchdog group Media Matters called attention to it.

Echoing Trump’s description of the migrant caravan as “an invasion,” Epshteyn said in his commentary, “The notion that a caravan of migrants can be allowed to break through our borders is ludicrous and dangerous. The United States of America should not and cannot be intimidated by those willing to use force to get into our country illegally.”

By Thursday, Sinclair seemed to have second thoughts about its second thoughts.

Asked to clarify its position, a spokesman, Robert Ford, issued a statement seemingly supportive of Epshteyn’s views. “The segment on the migrant crisis at the southern border has been drastically and intentionally mischaracterized by those set on criticizing Boris Epshteyn’s commentary segments. We urge critics to review the actual segment, not the biased coverage of it.”

Like Epshteyn’s commentary, Sinclair’s “must-run” directives to its 191 stations — the largest group in the country — have occasionally generated pushback.

Most notably, it drew widespread condemnation in April when it required its many local anchors to read the same promotional script that decried “fake stories” and “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country” — phrases that echoed Trump’s criticism of the news media. A video made by the website Deadspin of dozens of anchors reading the identical words went viral, raising concerns that local news — traditionally decentralized and independent — was being compromised by an agenda-driven company.

But Sinclair’s must-runs in the lead-up to the midterm elections generated little criticism.

Among them were a package of stories reported by WJLA anchor Jonathan Elias about the dangers of socialism. Elias’s series was set primarily in Brazil, whose economic troubles he said were the result of “an array of expensive social programs [that are] bloating the government.” But he began with references to the political success of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, noting over an image of a military parade in Moscow’s Red Square that “it wasn’t long ago that socialism was considered a dirty word in American politics.”

The last part of the series aired on election eve, the same day as Sinclair’s interviews with the president and his son Eric.

Elias’s reporting was also incorporated into Sinclair’s Sunday public-affairs program, “Full Measure,” and into a special program carried on Sinclair stations called “Inside Socialism” that was hosted by Sebastian Gorka, another former Trump administration official. The special aired on 41 Sinclair-owned stations in 27 states, according to Media Matters.

Another must-run piece highlighted long-ago Democratic objections to “birthright citizenship,” in which children born in the United States are granted automatic citizenship. Trump has suggested revoking the citizenship of the children of undocumented immigrants.

Yet another story focused on young, conservative African Americans who advocated that blacks withdraw their support for the Democratic Party in the midterms.

Epshteyn himself scored an interview with President Trump in September that was parceled out as a six-part must-run series. Sinclair’s management distributed the interviews, in which Trump touted his successes as president, to its stations with a note advising that they “may run this interview/commentary as their top story.”

Sinclair’s top news executive, Scott Livingston, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Epshteyn referred to Sinclair’s statement when reached on Thursday.

Sinclair, which is controlled by members of the Smith family and is headquartered outside Baltimore, has angered Democrats for years with its news and public-affairs programs, particularly during election seasons.

Just before the presidential election of 2012, Sinclair-owned stations in several battleground states aired a ­corporate-produced half-hour news “special” that criticized President Obama’s handling of the economy, his signature health-care law and the administration’s management of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The record of his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, received less scrutiny.

In 2004, Sinclair heard objections when it announced that it would air a documentary attacking Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s military record. Amid calls for an advertiser boycott, Sinclair backed down and ran a more balanced program.

During the 2016 campaign, Sinclair stations and programs carried far more interviews with Trump and his surrogates than with his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, told a business group afterward that Trump’s campaign had struck a deal with Sinclair to provide access and coverage. Sinclair, however, said it made no special arrangement with Trump and had offered equal time to Clinton. It said Clinton’s aides were not as receptive as Trump’s campaign to the offer.