FOCUS: Freedom of the Press/Unbiased News
GOAL: Stop the FCC from allowing the Sinclair/Tribune merger that will give a Trump-friendly propaganda media conglomerate unfettered access to some 70% of American households
DEADLINE: NOV 2 (That’s THIS Thursday!)
Sinclair is a massive media group that owns more TV stations (173) than any other broadcasting company in the United States. They have been pushing hard to get the FCC to roll back some laws that keep them from buying another large broadcasting company (Tribune), making them a media behemoth that would have access to 72% of American households (despite the fact that current FCC laws state that no single company can exceed a reach of 39%).
This would be troubling enough if Sinclair was a trustworthy source of news, but it’s not. The consumer watchdog group Allied Progress has this to say about Sinclair:
Sinclair Broadcast Group has a troubling track record with the truth. Since it announced its planned merger with news giant Tribune Media in May 2017, the company has faced a very public firestorm over its history of infecting local news coverage with politically charged programming. Turning America’s local news stations into partisan outlets is nothing new for Sinclair, though. The company could be considered the Godfather of agenda-driven local media, with criticisms of media bias dating back to the early 2000s. Most recently, Sinclair has been under fire for its now infamous “must run” segments – short pieces of political commentary produced in Sinclair’s national headquarters that the company requires all local affiliates to air.
Translation: If this merger goes through, Sinclair will have the ability to force local news stations—the broadcasters more Americans trust than any other news source—to become mouthpieces for the right-wing movement.
For a more detailed look at the situation, here’s John Oliver’s excellent overview:
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
File a comment with the FCC about the Tribune Sinclair merger:
Step 1: Link to the express form.
Step 2: In the field labeled “Proceeding(s)”, type 17-179 . That will bring that proceeding up.
Step 3: Fill out the rest and send.
Need verbiage? Here you go: “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.”
ADDITIONAL READING & INFO:
- A little background from earlier this summer:
- This Sinclair-Tribune Merger Is a Rotten Deal for America – What’s to be done about ‘the most dangerous company most Americans haven’t heard of?’
- PARTISAN PABLUM: HOW SINCLAIR’S POLITICAL AGENDA THREATENS THE QUALITY LOCAL JOURNALISM CONSUMERS TRUST
TO REACH YOUR MOCs:
1. Reach MOCs via the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
2. Look up your elected senators and reps.
3. Use Faxzero to send free faxes from your computer to your Senator or Congressperson.
4. Use Resistbot to send faxes to your senators right from your phon.: Text the word “RESIST” to 50409.