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Debunking The Broadcast Industry's Claims About Sinclair's Tribune Takeover

Free Press on Thursday responded to filings by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Media, 21st Century Fox and Fox Television Stations, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reject Sinclair's proposed takeover of Tribune.

In its filing to the FCC, Free Press states that broadcasters continue to rely on thoroughly debunked public-interest claims to bolster their weak arguments and misrepresent concerns raised by Free Press and other groups that have petitioned the agency to deny the merger.

Sinclair and the other broadcasters have utterly failed to demonstrate any public interest benefits from the transfer of broadcast licenses that is a central component of this deal, Free Press argues.

Sinclair claims that operational "efficiencies" and scale will allow it to improve local coverage. "These claims are dubious at best," Free Press states in its filing. "Such efficiencies are often just a euphemism for job cuts, leading to local journalist layoffs to combine multiple competing newsrooms into a single conglomerate."

Viewers have every reason to expect that Sinclair's expanded control will instead lead to a decrease in local political news coverage and an uptick in highly suspect "must-run" content handed down from Sinclair's corporate headquarters.

Local viewers see no benefits from and express no increased demand for this content, which promotes anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and other racist bigotry and simply airs White House propaganda.

Thursday's filing is the latest round of arguments between Sinclair and public-interest advocates as the FCC considers whether to approve the broadcast merger, which as originally proposed would have given the broadcast giant control of more than 233 local TV stations reaching 72 percent of the country's population, far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership.

People from across the political spectrum have called on the FCC to reject the deal, concerned that the merger would result in Sinclair laying off local reporters to replace their coverage with cookie-cutter content, forced broadcasts of politically biased commentary and official propaganda.

Earlier in the day, representatives from organizations opposing the merger, including ACLU, Common Cause, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, and MPower Change gathered outside Federal Communications Commission headquarters to protest the deal. They delivered more than 670,000 petitions calling on the agency to reject Sinclair's proposal and commit to its central mission of promoting diversity, competition and localism over the public airwaves.

Over the past 18 months, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has attempted to remove all public-interest safeguards that would prevent Sinclair's massive merger from being approved. Following news of an internal investigation into Pai's dealings on Sinclair, Free Press called on the chairman to recuse himself from all decisions related to its proposed takeover of Tribune.


* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

* Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media.

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

* Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy.

* The Sinclair Sham.


See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.


Comments welcome.


Posted on July 13, 2018

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