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

On Wednesday, 21st Century Fox announced a deal to acquire seven stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group for $910 million as part of Sinclair's proposed takeover of Tribune Media.

Sinclair needs to divest a certain number of stations as part of its $3.9-billion proposal to buy Tribune. As originally proposed, the Tribune deal would have given Sinclair 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.

Both the Sinclair-Tribune and Sinclair-Fox deals would not have been possible were it not for recent Trump FCC efforts, under Chairman Ajit Pai, to gut longstanding broadcast-ownership limits.

Free Press and its allies, including Common Cause, Media Mobilizing Project and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, have petitioned the D.C. Court of Appeals to overturn the agency's 2017 decision to reinstate the UHF discount, arguing that it was a technologically obsolete rule the FCC restored simply to pave the way for further broadcast-industry consolidation. The Georgetown Institute for Public Representation represented the petitioners' case in court.

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

"Sinclair's plan to sell seven stations to Fox as part of its Tribune takeover shows everything that's wrong with the media-ownership landscape.

"At a time when our communities are clamoring for local coverage and independent voices, TV stations are being swallowed up by a few huge conglomerates that care more about pushing their reactionary agendas and vacuuming up election ad dollars than serving local needs. This much media concentration is dangerous for our democracy.

"The deal would put both Sinclair and Fox far in excess of the limits for media ownership set by Congress, but they're getting away with it thanks to special favors from Trump's FCC chairman.

"The UHF discount is an outdated rule that Pai resurrected solely to let these companies evade media-ownership limits and get even larger. This arbitrary giveaway never should have been permitted, and that's why we're suing to have it overturned.

"The FCC should reject the Sinclair-Tribune merger and stop Fox from getting bigger. Unfortunately, Ajit Pail is more concerned with pumping up the profits of his political allies than protecting the public airwaves."

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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.

* 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.

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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.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on May 9, 2018


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