Wed 8/16 – The Air That I Breathe…

Today, Indivisible Ventura is asking you to do one (1) action.

“Which is great, because you actually asked us to do 16 yesterday!!!” (Yes, we did.)

We’re asking for just this one today because this is a foundational action, one that literally affects the political environment we move through every day. Because what happened to this woman’s dad happened to mine, and happened to people all over the country. And it is still happening…to people who never miss an election.

(Watch both of these short clips…they cover different aspects)

Now this social cancer started by FOX is quietly migrating… to a media platform people who would never watch FOX will now be exposed to, to a platform people do not recognize as a political forum, to a platform people trust. Their friendly local news station.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group is requiring that all their local tv stations broadcast what they call “must-runs”, which are conservative commentary segments.

Here’s an example of one of these mandated messages by a what appears to be concerned and thoughtful grownup, Mark Hyman.

“The Buddha of Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan’s Hindu region stood 165 feet tall.  But the Taliban didn’t want these reminders of Hindu history.  So they blew them up. It happened before 9/11. The world was outraged. These statues had stood for nearly two-thousand years. It was simply wrong to destroy reminders of Afghanistan’s history…. Removal of historical statues is shortsighted….Clearly, there have been ugly chapters in American history.  But ripping down statues and similar imagery doesn’t alter that history.  Instead they should serve as important reminders of our past. To help guide our behavior going forward.”

Um…wait a minute. One of these things is NOT like the other

The stations will NOT be airing criticism of this wrong-headed statement. Nor will they be airing a thoughtful analysis of the confederate statues’ true function.

“These statues were a part of … terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city” (New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu)

OK, so they’re poisoning the well, changing the narrative. But it’s really just at a small group of stations. It doesn’t affect much.

Um, no.

For those who like to read…

For those who like to watch their news, especially from the hilarious John Oliver…

Here are the stations under Sinclair Broadcasting control right now. How close are they to you? Your friends? Your parents?

And why is this so urgent now? (Yes, we’re going THERE! Godwin’s law is suspended this week.)

Because the destruction of both truth and the access to truth is a hard sign of authoritarian regimes. We’ve been through this before and people died. But those who admire this kind of regime were just marching in Charlottesville. And the media is being forced to assist them.

So call!

5calls has put together a nice synopsis of all the information from above…


Sinclair Broadcasting, a heavily right-wing leaning media company, has been working to acquire Tribune Media in order to expand its reach into households across the country. Already the nation’s largest TV broadcast company with stations in 81 markets reaching 38% of U.S. households, Sinclair’s potential $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media would add to its roster another 42 stations, extending its reach to a colossal 72% of U.S. households.

Though Congress imposed an audience cap of 39% on media companies, the FCC is reviving a technologically obsolete loophole called the “UHF discount” to help Sinclair proceed with its expansion. In 1985, to make up for the shorter range of UHF broadcasts, the FCC began to discount UHF stations by cutting their market size in half when calculating their national audience reach. The quality gap no longer exists thanks to the proliferation of digital TV, but the FCC plans to use the UHF discount to help Sinclair skirt past the broadcast ownership rule.

The expansion of Sinclair’s reach is troubling due to the company’s frequent use of “must run” segments. The national company forces the local news stations they own to air segments produced by their national headquarters, often hosted by former Trump aide now Sinclair employee Boris Epshteyn, that are filled with extreme right-wing propaganda. This practice not only injects inaccurate and partisan rhetoric into the news media at a dangerously effective level, it also imposes excessive control over local news stations.

The timing of the Sinclair-Tribune merger has also raised questions of quid pro quo. During the election, Sinclair-owned stations aired a disproportionate amount of positive coverage for Trump. Now, the Trump administration’s FCC Chairman is delivering regulatory roll backs to help Sinclair grow its enterprise.

So here is your action (OK, technically, 2 calls)!

Call this office:

Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman  202-418-1000

Script: My name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [zip]. I’m calling in opposition to the merger of Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media. It expands Sinclair’s reach beyond its legal audience cap of 39% to a massive 72% of US households. The FCC should not bend rules or roll back regulations in order to grow Sinclair’s pro-Trump, right wing messaging.

[IF LEAVING A MESSAGE: Please leave full address to ensure call is tallied.]

Then call your legislators to support HR 3478

Minimal Script: Hi, I’m calling to ask Rep. [___] to co-sponsor and vote YES on HR 3478.

(Additional if you want to: We need to close the loophole that would allow one company, especially one with a political agenda,  take over so much control over the nation’s media.)

Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779

Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348

Other Rep Contacts:


2 thoughts on “Wed 8/16 – The Air That I Breathe…

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