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Sinclair-Tribune Deal Is Dead

On Thursday morning, Tribune Media withdrew from its proposed merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group, effectively terminating the $3.9 billion deal that would have created the largest local television conglomerate in U.S. history.

The move follows the FCC's late July release of a Hearing Designation Order (HDO), in which the agency criticized Sinclair for "lacking candor" in its plan to transfer control of several television stations to shell companies set up by the broadcaster. "The record raises significant questions as to whether those proposed divestitures were in fact 'sham' transactions," according to the HDO.

The failure of the merger, which would have resulted in a broadcast giant with an audience reach of more than 70 percent of the country, is a major victory for public-interest groups that have rallied nationally against the deal's many harms, maintaining that a larger Sinclair runs counter to the FCC's central mandate to promote diversity, localism and competition in use of the public airwaves.

President Donald Trump recently tweeted his anger at the deal's demise, praising Sinclair while calling "disgraceful" the FCC's move to scuttle the proposed merger. Since the president's inauguration, Sinclair has forced its local newscasts to air commentary that favors Trump administration policies and positions.

"The collapse of the merger is great news for dozens of local communities that will be spared Sinclair's slanted coverage and ridiculous must-runs," said Free Press president and CEO Craig Aaron.

"Millions of people spoke out against this deal, and that public pressure was instrumental in keeping the spotlight on Sinclair and its history of airing reactionary and often racist content. Numerous investigative journalists, viral-video makers, and whistleblowers from inside the company made sure the truth about Sinclair's ambitions got out. And conservative voices showed that even Sinclair's partisan allies know the anti-competitive company can't be trusted.

"Hopefully, FCC opposition to this deal is the start of a trend in favor of more independent voices and local choices for news. The FCC majority's recent gutting of media ownership limits suggests otherwise. The demise of this deal presents an opportunity to embark on a new path, an opportunity that will be squandered if these stations were to be simply served up to other giant conglomerates."


* 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.

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

* Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger.

* Sinclair Makes Last Ditch Effort To Salvage Tribune Merger. Will FCC Bite?

* Sinclair-Tribune Deal On Life Support.


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 August 9, 2018

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