WASHINGTON — On Thursday morning, opponents to the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s bid to grow its empire will gather outside the broadcast giant’s annual shareholders’ meeting to protest its proposed takeover of Tribune Media.
Free Press Action Fund, which is suing the Federal Communications Commission for rulings that have gutted longstanding media-ownership limits to pave the way for this merger, will be joined at the rally with representatives from Color Of Change, Common Cause, Demand Progress and others to announce a nationwide series of actions urging decision-makers at the Department of Justice and FCC to reject the deal.
As originally proposed, the Tribune deal would give 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.
People from across the political spectrum have called on the FCC to reject the deal, concerned that the merger would result in Sinclair laying off local reporters to replace their coverage with cookie-cutter journalism and forced broadcasts of politically biased commentary and pro-government propaganda.
“Whether it’s the viral video of all the local anchors robotically reading the same script or the scandalous giveaways it has gotten from the Trump FCC, the heat has turned up on Sinclair and against their takeover of dozens more TV stations,” said Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron, who will be speaking during the rally. “Following this rally, we’ll kick off a nationwide series of actions to help local communities reject Trump TV. We believe local news should serve communities, not reactionary politicians and their cronies.”
“Our democracy depends upon a free and unfettered press, and millions of Americans depend upon their local news stations for unbiased coverage of events and issues in their communities. No one media company, and one with a clear political agenda at that, should have this much power and control over the information we all depend on,” said Carli Stevenson, campaigner at Demand Progress. “That’s why we’re kicking off a nationwide campaign to help communities large and small resist Sinclair’s takeover of their local news stations.”
“Everyday, when people turn on their local news they should be able to trust, at the bare minimum, that they will see an accurate depiction of what’s happening in their communities as developed by local news directors,” said Brandi Collins-Dexter, senior campaign director at Color Of Change. “But for years Sinclair has pimped dangerous propaganda about Black, Brown and poor communities masquerading as trusted local news into nearly half of U.S. homes, strictly for political gain. Their must-run segments, forced on local news stations against their will, parrot White House talking points, including minimizing the level of hatred and violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville last summer. Beyond party line politics we should all be concerned that after this merger one monster media conglomerate, particularly one with such a transparent and dangerous agenda, will have direct access to 72 percent of homes across the country.”