Oppose Trump TV: Stop the Sinclair-Tribune Merger
Donald Trump’s favorite local-TV chain is about to get a lot bigger thanks to … wait for it … Donald Trump!
Trump’s FCC is paving the way for Sinclair Broadcast Group — already the nation’s largest TV conglomerate — to take over Tribune,1 which owns 42 stations in many of the country’s big cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and Denver.
This deal would have been DOA in any other administration. It would create an unthinkable level of media consolidation by a company that’s used the public airwaves to push a conservative political agenda. But Trump’s FCC is actually rewriting the rules to make it happen2 — and to give one of the administration’s loudest media boosters an even bigger megaphone.
Sinclair is notorious for slipping right-wing views and Republican talking points into its newscasts. The company overrides the objections of local journalists and forces its stations to run conservative commentaries and slanted stories on the local news.
And Sinclair went all out for Trump in 2016. Jared Kushner, the president’s adviser and son-in-law, boasted about the special deal he struck with Sinclair to get Trump uninterrupted favorable coverage.3 And Sinclair has been hiring Trump campaign spokespeople as analysts ever since.4
Now Sinclair’s getting its payback.
If this deal goes through, Sinclair’s cookie-cutter, Trump-boosting content could reach more than 70 percent of the U.S. population.5 That means more distorted commentary — and less of the local news people really need.
To the Federal Communications Commission:
Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune should never be allowed to merge. If this deal goes through, a single company would own more than 200 local-TV stations reaching more than 70 percent of the country. That’s far beyond the legal limits on media ownership and far too much power in the hands of a single company. Sinclair has evaded FCC rules, received FCC fines for airing propaganda, and drawn wide criticism for airing politically slanted content on its stations. The FCC should block this merger and restore policies that encourage a diversity of local media owners and a wide range of viewpoints.
You will receive periodic updates from Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Stop the Sinclair merger and unplug Trump TV.
1. “Sinclair Announces Station Takeover One Day After Trump’s FCC Votes to Loosen Ownership Rules,” Free Press, April 21, 2017: https://www.freepress.net/press-release/107990/sinclair-announces-station-takeover-one-day-after-trumps-fcc-votes-loosen
2. “Trump’s FCC Chair Continues to Shaft the Public, Offer Major Handouts to Big Media,” Free Press, April 20, 2017: https://www.freepress.net/press-release/107986/trumps-fcc-chair-continues-shaft-public-offer-major-handouts-big-media
3. “Jared Kushner: We Struck Deal with Sinclair for Straighter Coverage,” Politico, Dec. 19, 2016: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-campaign-sinclair-broadcasting-jared-kushner-232764
4. “Ex-Trump Spokesperson Joins Sinclair Broadcasting,” CNN, April 17, 2017: http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/17/media/boris-epshteyn-sinclair/
5. “Trump-Friendly Company Buys Rights to Deliver Local News to 70 Percent of U.S. Households,” New York, May 9, 2017: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/right-leaning-company-to-deliver-local-news-to-most-of-u-s.html
Original images by Flickr users Gage Skidmore and futureatlas.com/blog