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FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a proposal Tuesday to review and revise the agency's national television-ownership cap. Pai's actions begin a rulemaking process that will likely result in the removal of even more safeguards designed to protect localism, diversity and competition over the public airwaves.

The move could lift the existing cap set by Congress, which says no single company can own TV stations reaching more than 39 percent of the national audience. The FCC does not have the power to lift, change or waive this limit set by statute, but it plans to move ahead anyway.

Pai's proposal would remove the last remaining protections standing in the way of a new era of extreme media consolidation, following his moves last week to erase rules preventing local media concentration.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group stands to benefit the most from an increase in the cap. Its proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media, now under review at the agency, would give it control of 233 local TV stations reaching more than 70 percent of the country. But other large broadcasters like Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV stations, Nexstar and Tegna have also lobbied for a higher cap.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

"Ajit Pai has no shame. After his legally dubious maneuvers to dismantle local media-ownership limits were approved last week in a party line vote, he's doubling down on a proposal to overturn national ownership limits he has no actual authority to change. He has teed up for elimination the last remaining firewall against completely unchecked media consolidation.

"Changing this limit should require congressional action, but Pai doesn't care. He'll do whatever it takes to clear the way for Sinclair to swallow up stations wherever and whenever it pleases. And unless Pai's stopped, Rupert Murdoch and a few other moguls will go on their own buying sprees too.

"The result will be one or two dominant broadcasters in every market, deep job cuts for journalists, and an influx of cookie-cutter content and right-wing propaganda. This spells disaster for local news and the communities it's supposed to serve. Congress must step in, stop this power grab and recognize the serious threat Pai's actions pose to our democracy."

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Previously:
* 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.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on November 22, 2017


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