The Sinclair Broadcast Group is not a well-known name, but a shorthand reference for it these days is "Trump TV."
Sinclair is the same media group that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner cut a deal with during the 2016 elections to air "good" coverage for Trump.1 Now—in a blatant act of quid pro quo—Trump, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and the FCC are easing a law that prevents a single broadcaster from reaching more than 40% of the country's population—reinstating a loophole that the Obama administration had gotten rid of—so that Sinclair could broadcast to well over 70% of the country.2
If its plan to buy Tribune Media, Co.—which owns 42 stations in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas—is successful, the reach of Sinclair’s racist news coverage will be dramatically increased.
Let's tell the FCC to block the Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of Tribune Media, Co. and protect the freedom of the press. Let's tell the FCC we're against corporate consolidation of our local news outlets.
The Sinclair Broadcast Group has a blatant history of Islamophobia. In 2015, the Council on American-Islamic Relations requested Sinclair comment on its policies related to programming that promotes hate and bigotry after one of its hosts used hateful rhetoric towards Muslims, saying that "the false religion of Islam is about hate, lies and death." Sinclair's response? "We intend to proceed with the broadcast of the programming as planned. This decision is based on a number of factors, including our respect for the First Amendment and our interest in not censoring points of view with which everyone may not agree."3
Ironically today, Sinclair demands uniform daily stories across hundreds of news stations, including the "Terrorism Alert Desk," which has notably used Muslims as synonymous with terrorists in its reports.4 The Terrorism Alert Desk is a Sinclair "must-run" that is produced centrally by the company and airs every single day across Sinclair outlets, whether or not there is something to report on.5
So much for Sinclair’s “respect for the First Amendment”. The Sinclair management style means newscasters across the country are obligated to parrot the same story, without commentary or analysis.
Sinclair has tried to evade the rules in the past and has been fined millions of dollars by the FCC for not acting in good faith during negotiations. So how can we trust them today? More Americans trust local news outlets over national news outlets—but if a biased broadcast group such as Sinclair is successful in its corporate consolidation of local news, who could Americans trust?6
That's why we're encouraging the FCC to block the Sinclair-Tribune merger and preserve policies that foster diverse views across media outlets. Sign the petition and let the FCC know you support a free press.
1. "'Classic Propaganda': Sinclair Broadcasting Pushes Aside Fox News to Become 'Trump TV'" Common Dreams, Jul 30, 2017
2. "Sinclair Announces Station Takeover One Day After Trump's FCC Votes to Loosen Ownership Caps" Free Press, Apr 21, 2017
3. "CAIR: Sinclair Broadcast Group Backs FL Host Who Attacks Jews, Muslims, Mormons" CAIR, Mar 11, 2015
4. "John Oliver warns of Sinclair Broadcast Group Fox-ing up your local news" AV Club, Jul 3, 2017
5. "Sinclair Requires TV Stations to Air Segments That Tilt to the Right" The New York Times, May 12, 2017
6. "The Modern News Consumer" Pew Research Center, Jul 7, 2016