Tell the Federal Communications Commission: Block the Sinclair deal
Imagine Donald Trump writing a script for every news anchor in America to read on the air. If you saw the chilling viral video of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, you can imagine it all too easily. News anchors from many of Sinclair's 193 local broadcast stations mechanically read the same text warning about "fake news" on other stations.1
Forcing journalists to spread suspicion about other journalists is not normal. This is a wake-up call about the extreme right-wing bias and lack of journalistic independence of Sinclair's massive right-wing media empire. And unless the Federal Communications Commission or Department of Justice stops Sinclair's proposed merger with Tribune Media, that network will get even larger.
Tell the FCC and the Department of Justice: Block the Sinclair deal.
Sinclair has a long history of force-feeding local stations “must-run” conservative segments from its national headquarters. The company’s disturbing track record includes:2,3,4
Striking a sweetheart deal with the Trump campaign, with Jared Kushner claiming that they gave Sinclair access in return for less-critical coverage.
Requiring local news anchors to announce their support for President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism following the September 11 attacks.
Sending a crew to Iraq in 2004 to find more “positive” Iraq War stories to report.
Airing a 2008 special criticizing then-Sen. Barack Obama.
It should come as no surprise then that as soon as Trump entered the White House, he met with Sinclair's CEO to talk about "potential FCC rule changes" to help the company.5 Since then, Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has pushed through a series of radical rule changes to help out Sinclair. Among other sweetheart deals, Pai scrapped FCC rules on media ownership to allow Sinclair – already the biggest television operator in the country – to acquire another network and grow even bigger.
If they succeed, Trump and Pai could permanently change the U.S. media landscape. The proposed mega-merger that would leave Sinclair with an incredible 223 stations covering 72 percent of U.S. households.6
No one media company should have that much power.
Tell the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice: Block the Sinclair deal.
Timothy Burke, How America's Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump's War On The Media," Deadspin, March 31, 2018.
Josh Dawsey and Hadas Gold, "Kushner: We struck deal with Sinclair for straighter coverage," POLITICO, Dec. 16, 2016.
- Sydney Ember, "Sinclair Requires TV Stations to Air Segments That Tilt to the Right," The New York Times, May 12, 2017.
Michael Calderone and Lydia O’Connor, "A Trump-Friendly Media Company Is About To Get Even Bigger," HuffPost, May 9, 2017.
Claire Atkinson and Josh Kosman, "Sinclair is close to buying all of Tribune’s TV stations," New York Post, March 14, 2017.