Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Will WREG dodge the Sinclair bullet? FCC commissioner criticizes policy decisions.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 11:19 AM

click to enlarge Race to the Bottom
  • Race to the Bottom
A recent tweet by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel argues against policy rulings custom built to enable the Sinclair Broadcast group's $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune media. The move she criticizes would transfer ownership of WREG Memphis and push the overtly Conservative company's local market reach well past what's previously been allowed.  Rosenworcel's comments were inspired, in part, by President Donald Trump's apparent endorsement of Sinclair over "fake news" media like "CNN, NBC, ABC & CBS."
What makes Trump's endorsement especially troublesome — even for him — is the fact that Sinclair's stations operate unbranded and so, by way of affiliation, these Sinclair stations the President endorses often are the same NBC, ABC, CBS stations he also criticizes. And sometimes Fox stations as well.

Welcome to the media ownership funhouse.

Sinclair has been collecting network affiliated stations in an environment where cable news gets all the attention even though local TV news has more reach than all four major cable news stations combined

Via Common Dreams:
"Critics, including Rosenworcel, are concerned that under Chairman Ajit Pai, who Trump appointed last year, the FCC is moving deliberately to allow the Sinclair-Tribune merger to go through. Known for pushing right-wing viewpoints within the stations it already owns, the broadcaster drew ire this week after a viral video showed how local anchors nationwide are forced to read the same pre-packaged scripts."

When the FCC cleared a path for Sinclair's acquisition in May it was widely assumed that the deal would go through quickly, but that hasn't been the case. Delays have resulted from ongoing wrangling with antitrust officials in the Justice Department and the FCC's internal investigation into decisions made by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and "whether there had been [FCC] coordination with [Sinclair]."






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