Thurs – 8/9: Thanks to all for helping to bring the Sinclair deal down!

Action #1 – Thank you for helping on this!

No action here. Just thanks for your loyal opposition to the Sinclair/Tribune merger – calling, emailing, writing and generally making a ruckus.

Action #2 – Follow up – Tell the FCC to revoke Sinclair’s broadcasting license.

In April, 2018, Ajit Pai stated that the FCC wouldn’t pull Sinclair’s broadcast license due to their distorted news coverage. Well, how about now?  “As details of Sinclair’s deceptions emerge — and with other investigations underway at the Department of Justice — it’s reasonable to question whether the broadcaster deserves to hold any licenses to profit off the public airwaves.” says Craig Aaron, the CEO of the public interest group Free Press. Great idea, Mr. Aaron, as unethical behavior is one of the numerous ways to lose a broadcast license.

Minimal Script: First, I would like to thank Chairman Pai for helping to stop the Sinclair/Tribune merger. In addition, because of Sinclair’s criminally unethical behavior during the negotiations, now is the time for the FCC to stand up and revoke Sinclair’s license to broadcast.

Contact:
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: email, 202-418-2000

Background

In case you missed the whole issue with the Sinclair Broadcasting group, we have a few posts to help you catch up on it. herehere. herehere. The merger between Sinclair Broadcasting, media megaphone for the Trump administration and Tribune Media, owner of many large urban news stations, was one of the greatest threats to our democracy we’ve encountered so far.

Things were looking bleak for us, the heroes in this story, until Deadspin put out this illuminating and disturbing video, which helped spur on comments from the resistance (us), Democratic lawmakers, cable companies, liberal consumer groups and conservative media outlets.

The publicity made it impossible for FCC chair Ajit Pai to hide Sinclair’s incredibly shady dealings to prepare for merger. “A sticking point for regulators at the FCC and the Justice Department was a series of side deals that Sinclair had proposed in order to bring the combined company into compliance with regulations on the number of local TV stations a company could own.

Those transactions involved selling highly valuable stations to buyers with business ties to Sinclair for below-market prices, the FCC alleged. And the sales had strings attached that would allow Sinclair to retain significant control over the stations’ operations and programming.

The so-called “sidecar deals” unraveled the merger’s chances of approval, Tribune said, and ultimately prompted its decision to back out and file a lawsuit…

“In exercising its authority under the merger agreement to lead the regulatory approval process, Sinclair repeatedly favored its own financial interests over its contractual obligations by rejecting clear paths to regulatory approval. Instead, Sinclair fought, threatened, insulted, and misled regulators in a misguided and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to retain control over stations that it was obligated to sell.””

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